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Heart Health: Myth vs. Fact

Feb 15, 2024 | Featured, Health & Wellness, Health, Wellness, & Care | 0 comments

Little is more important than heart health – our heart is at the core of all our bodies’ processes! Despite this knowledge, there are still some common misconceptions about heart health, heart attack, and heart disease. Let’s debunk heart health myths so you can live a healthier life!

Heart Health Myth: Heart disease is primarily a man’s disease.

For more than 30 years, heart disease has been the number one killer of U.S. men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 44% of women are living with some form of heart disease. Plus, that rate increases as you get older. By 65, 70% of both men and women experience cardiovascular disease (including coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and hypertension). Risk continues to escalate with age, reaching 83% for men and 87% for women by age 80.

Heart Health Myth: All heart attacks have the same symptoms/warning signs.

Shooting pain down your left arm, tightness and pain in your chest, and shortness of breath are the common signs of heart attacks that most people know. However, silent heart attacks – or heart attacks with no symptoms (or symptoms that are not usually attributed to a heart attack) – are much more common than you think. According to the Cleveland Clinic, as many as 50-80% of heart attacks are silent.

Heart Health Myth: If you have a family history of heart problems, it’s inevitable that you will have heart problems, too.

While family history does play a large part in your health, it’s not a guaranteed predictor. General preventative measures – like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking – can be lifesaving and make all the difference to your heart health. Make sure to share your family health history with your primary care provider, too.

Heart Health Myth: It’s normal for seniors to have high blood pressure.

The risk of high blood pressure increases as we age due to arteries getting stiffer, but just because it’s more common, doesn’t mean it’s not bad for you. If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, it can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and more. Be sure to get your blood pressure checked every time you visit your doctor!

Heart Health Myth: Mental health has nothing to do with heart health.

Many studies have proven there is a link between heart health and mental health. According to the CDC, people with depression, anxiety, stress, and PTSD may experience certain physiologic effects on the body, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced blood flow to the heart, and heightened levels of cortisol. If experienced over a long period of time, these effects can lead to calcium buildup in the arteries, metabolic disease, and heart disease.

Heart Health Myth: If you’ve smoked for years, the damage is already done. There’s no use in quitting now.

It’s never too late to stop smoking! The benefits of quitting start the moment you stop. After just 20 minutes, your heart rate returns to normal, and your blood pressure drops. After a year, your risk of heart attack and heart disease is cut in half. The sooner you quit, the healthier your heart will become.

Remember, understanding the truth about heart health can make all the difference in safeguarding your most vital organ. Take charge of your heart health today and embark on a journey toward a stronger, healthier heart.

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