In Your 20s

“There’s a common problem among men in their twenties,” says Dr. Eric Topol, M.D., a practicing cardiologist at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California. “They don’t know they’re vulnerable [to heart disease].” Your twenties are the perfect time to establish heart-healthy diet and exercise habits that’ll extend your expiration date. That means 30 minutes of exercise five times a week and maintaining a healthy weight and cholesterol level—LDL below 130 mg/dL, HDL of at least 40 mg/dL, according to Dr. Topol.

Every 20-something average Joe needs an annual physical to evaluate HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting lipid profile, blood pressure, and family history. If the checkup goes well, one appointment is enough to clear your conscious. But if you’re an athlete or you hit the weight room more than five times a week, ask your doctor for an echocardiogram to ensure you don’t have a heart abnormality,” says Dr. John Elefteriades, M.D., the chief of cardiac surgery at Yale University.

“If you have a silent aneurism (one that doesn’t cause you to feel symptoms), you’re susceptible to internal splitting of the aorta,” Dr. Elefteriades says. An echocardiogram is the only way to detect this problem. The test also spots dilated cardiomyopathy (a condition of heart failure in which the heart gets stretched too big and too thin) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (an inherited condition where the heart muscle is overgrown).

Your 20s Checklist:

•    At least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week

•    Annual physicals

•    Echocardiogram

•    Cholesterol: LDL less than 130 mg/dL and HDL greater than 40 mg/dL

•    Blood pressure: 119/79 mm HG or lower

•    Lipid profile: Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL

READ: The 4 Times Every Day That Your Heart Is In Danger

Michael Clarke Duncan: What Every Black Man Can Do For His Heart  was originally published on

« Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next page »