Heart health FAQs

How to be good to your ticker. And how to find out your 'heart age'.

Tune your engine by using the right fuels. The heart needs: 

Heart disease is caused when the arteries that pump your blood get damaged with gunk called plaque. This makes the arteries harden and narrow. The main causes are:

  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • lack of exercise
  • being overweight
  • family history.
Know your history

You can get a good idea of the hand you’ve been dealt by knowing your history. 

Many health problems run in families: heart disease, cancer, strokes, depression, mental health challenges.  Find out if your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have had any of these illnesses, especially if they died young. 

Make sure your GP knows your family health history.

Check your heart age

Get a check-up

Meanwhile, get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked. If you’re over 40 and live in England, ask your GP practice for a free NHS Health Check which will estimate your risk of getting heart disease.

Here’s a little incentive to look after your heart: everything that is good for your heart is good for your penis. Clear, unblocked arteries mean firm, durable erections. Click for more on erection problems (an early warning sign for heart disease).

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This content is wholly based on the Men's Health Forum's The Man Manual which was prepared in line with the NHS England Information Standard of which the MHF is a member. Follow the links for more information or to buy copies. The exception is the Heart Age widget which includes its own credits.


Date published 19/06/15
Date of last review 30/04/15
Date of next review 30/04/18

The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.

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