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9 Common Myths About Heart Disease Busted!

You might be multi-tasking throughout the day, but do you know that your heart is working around the clock for you? Yes, your heart is one of the most important organs in your body; it pumps blood throughout the body and helps in transporting oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and eliminating carbon dioxide and other wastes.

Therefore, taking care of your heart is very important. You need to be aware of the misconceptions about your heart so that you know the ways to keep your heart healthy and prevent heart disease from occurring.

Here are common myths and facts about heart disease.

1. Myth: Young women don't have a risk of heart disease.

Fact: According to the American Heart Association, heart disease affects women of all age groups and especially younger women who take birth control pills and smoke increase their risk by 20%. In addition, if you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle, it can cause the accumulation of plaque and lead to clogged arteries later in life [1] .

2. Myth: Heart disease is common among men than women.

Fact: Women are more likely to get affected by heart disease than men, according to the American Heart Association. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women above the age of 65. The National Institute on Ageing says that people aged above 65 and older are at an increased risk of a heart attack, stroke or heart disease.

3. Myth: Diabetes will not cause heart disease if you are on diabetes medications

Fact: Having diabetes medicines reduce blood sugar levels and prevent complications such as loss of vision, nerve damage, kidney disease, etc. However, reduced blood sugar levels have less effect on the large blood vessels that become inflamed and diseased, increasing the risk of heart disease [2] .

4. Myth: If you have a family history of heart disease, you can't do anything to prevent the disease.

Fact: Although people with a family history of heart disease are at an increased risk, you can take some steps to lower the risk to some extent. This includes indulging in physical activity, eating heart-healthy foods, controlling cholesterol, managing blood pressure, avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy weight [3] .

5. Myth: If you quit smoking, you can't lower your heart disease risk.

Fact: The minute you quit smoking, your body starts functioning properly. According to Harvard Health, only 1 year after quitting smoking, the risk of heart attack will drop by 50 per cent.

6. Myth: Heart disease can be reduced with the intake of vitamins and supplements.

Fact: It isn't clear if taking vitamins and supplements reduce heart disease risk. But it is a known fact that heart disease can be prevented only if you shift to a better lifestyle like with no smoking, healthy diet, and staying physically active. The American Heart Association says that there is no scientific evidence to justify using vitamins and supplements to prevent heart disease.

7. Myth: Active women don't get heart disease.

Fact: Keeping yourself physically active doesn't lower the risk of heart disease. Women who exercise regularly can have other risk factors that cause heart disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and obesity according to the Heart Foundation.

8. Myth: If you have heart disease, you're supposed to eat as little fat as possible.

Fact: A diet low in saturated fat is recommended for people with heart disease, however, unsaturated fats found in foods such as fatty fishes, olives, avocados, nuts and vegetable oils are beneficial to the heart. In fact, consuming fish twice a week lowers the risk of heart disease [4] .

9. Myth: If you have no symptoms, you don't suffer from heart disease.

Fact: According to the American Heart Association, 64 per cent of women who die suddenly of heart disease had no previous symptoms due to the fact that the signs greatly differ between men and women. Health check-ups should be done on a regular basis to ensure that you don't have any heart-related health problems.

View Article References
  1. [1] Lavie, C. J., Ozemek, C., Carbone, S., Katzmarzyk, P. T., & Blair, S. N. (2019). Sedentary behavior, exercise, and cardiovascular health.Circulation research,124(5), 799-815.
  2. [2] Nathan D. Wong, Yanglu Zhao, Rohini Patel, Christopher Patao, Shaista Malik, Alain G. Bertoni, Adolfo Correa, Aaron R. Folsom, Sumesh Kachroo, Jayanti Mukherjee, Herman Taylor, Elizabeth Selvin.Cardiovascular Risk Factor Targets and Cardiovascular Disease Event Risk in Diabetes, a Pooling Project of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, and Jackson Heart Study.Diabetes Care, 2016; dc152439
  3. [3] Saffi, M. A. L., Polanczyk, C. A., & Rabelo-Silva, E. R. (2014). Lifestyle interventions reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with coronary artery disease: a randomized clinical trial.European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing,13(5), 436-443.
  4. [4] Raatz, S. K., Silverstein, J. T., Jahns, L., & Picklo, M. J. (2013). Issues of fish consumption for cardiovascular disease risk reduction.Nutrients,5(4), 1081–1097.
Read more about: heart disease myths facts
Story first published: Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 16:00 [IST]
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