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Human heart

Myths about Heart Disease

1. Youths shouldn’t be concerned about heart disease

Although heart disease is more likely to strike adults over the age of 65, 4–10% of heart attacks—mostly among men under the age of 45—occur in this age group. Additionally, the foundation for heart health as we age is set by the way we live as children, adolescents, and adults.

For instance, smoking tobacco or consuming a diet high in trans and saturated fats both gradually raise our risk of heart disease as we age. Lifestyle modifications made today lay the groundwork for a heart that is healthier later in life.

Since the 1970s, heart disease mortality has steadily decreased in the United States as a whole, however the trend appears to be slowingTrusted Source. Rates have, however, gone up in some areas.

Over 50% of counties [had] increases in heart disease mortality among individuals aged 35–64 years during 2010–2015, according to a study that looked at heart disease mortality in different age groups in the U.S.

2. People with heart disease shouldn’t exercise.

This is untrue. Exercise improves blood circulation throughout the body and helps the heart muscle become stronger.

Guidelines for exercise in people with cardiovascular disease were released by the European Society of Cardiology in August 2020. The guidelines’ creator, Prof. Sanjay Sharma, provides the following explanation:

Exercise has a very minimal likelihood of causing a heart attack or cardiac arrest. He does, however, add a warning: “Those with advanced cardiac disease and those who are absolutely sedentary should check their doctor before taking up sports.

3. I take medication to decrease my cholesterol, so I can eat everything I want.

The amount of cholesterol in the blood is decreased by several medications, such statins. This does not imply, however, that someone on statins can eat meals high in saturated fats at will.

Either your liver makes cholesterol or you consume it in the food you eat. Statins lower total blood cholesterol levels by inhibiting a liver enzyme required for the production of cholesterol. This implies that consumed cholesterol can still enter the blood, nevertheless.

In essence, statins might just be able to balance out the negative consequences.

A bad diet will increase the chance of other independent risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, according to a reputable source.

4. Men are primarily affected by heart disease.

This is untrue because heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. Heart disease claimed the lives of 24.2%Trusted Source of men and 21.8%Trusted Source of women in the United States in 2017.

The numbers are even more comparable between men and women when strokes are included, which also have comparable risk factors: 28.7%Trusted Source of men and 28%Trusted Source of women passed away from heart disease or a stroke.

It’s a frequent misperception that heart disease only affects men. It is true that men have a higher chance of developing coronary heart disease and tend to develop cardiovascular disease at a younger age than women. The risk of stroke is higher for women.

Women had a higher mortality and worse prognosis after acute cardiovascular events, despite the fact that their incidence of [cardiovascular disease] is typically lower than that of men, according to one report.

Either your liver makes cholesterol or you consume it in the food you eat. Statins lower total blood cholesterol levels by inhibiting a liver enzyme required for the production of cholesterol. This implies that consumed cholesterol can still enter the blood, nevertheless.

In essence, statins might just be able to balance out the negative consequences.

A bad diet will increase the chance of other independent risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, according to a reputable source.

5. Since heart disease runs in my family, I have no control over it.

If you have a history of heart disease in your immediate family, you may be at an elevated risk.

dependable source Even for those who have a hereditary sensitivity, there are a variety of techniques to lower the risk, so it is not a given.

These include exercising frequently, regulating blood pressure, quitting smoking, and eating a healthy diet.

It’s also important to remember that even if heart disease runs in the family, this may not necessarily indicate a hereditary predisposition. Families frequently share lifestyle choices including diet and exercise routines that can both affect heart disease risk.

6. Vitamins can lower the risk of heart disease

There is no proof that taking vitamin supplements can lower the risk of heart disease, despite the fact that most vitamins, when taken in the prescribed doses, are unlikely to be harmful for heart health. Furthermore, they cannot substitute for a balanced diet and frequent exercise.

A systematic review and meta-analysis, for instance, searched for links between multivitamin and mineral supplements and a range of cardiovascular events, such as coronary heart disease and stroke.

Including 2,019,862 participants, the analysis used information from 18 previously conducted studies and was published in 2018Trusted Source.

Multivitamin and mineral supplementation “does not improve cardiovascular outcomes in the general population,” according to the authors’ conclusion.

There are no short cuts in nutrition; supplements cannot take the place of a nutritious diet, according to Victoria Taylor, nutrition lead at the British Heart Foundation. We don’t advise individuals to use multivitamins to help avoid heart and circulation problems, even though a doctor could prescribe one for you for another reason.

7. I’ve been smoking for years, so there’s no purpose in quitting now.

This is untrue. One of the main causes of heart disease is cigarette usage. The advantages to one’s health start the moment they quit smoking. According to the National Institute on AgingReliable Source:

No matter your age or how long you’ve smoked, giving up the habit at any time is good for your health. You’ll probably live longer, breathe easier, have more energy, and save money when you stop.

Additionally, they mention that you’ll have better circulation and have a lesser risk of heart attack and stroke.

8. Heart attack and cardiac arrest share the same symptoms

Cardiac arrests and heart attacks are not the same thing. A heart attack is an issue with circulation. It happens when the coronary artery, which supplies the heart’s muscles with oxygenated blood, becomes clogged.

A cardiac arrest is a “electrical issue” in which the heart fails to adequately pump blood throughout the body. Heart attacks frequently result in cardiac arrests.

An individual is likely to be cognizant throughout a heart attack. The majority of the time, individuals are not cognizant during a cardiac arrest. Both involve medical emergencies.

9. During a heart attack, coughing can save your life.

According to some accounts, performing “cough CPR” during a heart attack can help save your life.

This is a misrepresentation on the internet of a research published more than 40 years ago, Trusted Source, which demonstrated that patients who experienced a cardiac arrest during an arteriography in a hospital and coughed every 1-3 seconds remained aware for an extra 39 seconds.

For heart attacks that are not brought on by medical treatments, there is no proof that this method is effective in the general population.

Senior cardiac nurse Christopher Allen said the following:

“Calling [the emergency services] should be your top priority if you believe you or someone else is having a heart attack.” In this manner, paramedics can evaluate you, assist you, and hasten your arrival at the hospital. There is no scientific support for “cough CPR.”

10. Consuming only fat should be avoided by people with heart problems.

Saturated fats, which are present in foods like butter, biscuits, bacon, and sausages, as well as partly hydrogenated and trans fats, which are present in foods like baked goods, frozen pizzas, and microwave popcorn, should definitely be reduced in intake by someone with cardiovascular disease.

Unsaturated fats, however, can be advantageous. For instance, there is some proof that the polyunsaturated fatty acid omega-3 may safeguard heart health.

According to the American Heart Association, individuals should consume fish (especially fatty fish) at least twice each week. Fish has a low saturated fat content and is a rich source of protein. Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, two types of omega-3 fatty acids that have been demonstrated to be cardioprotective, are abundant in fish, especially oily species like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon.

They also advise consuming omega-3 fatty acids derived from plants. These can be found in canola oil, walnuts, flaxseeds, and their oils, as well as tofu and other types of soybeans.

What to remember

Although it is widespread, heart disease is not unavoidable. Regardless of our age, there are lifestyle modifications that we can all make to lower the risk of having cardiovascular issues.

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