Debunking the Top Five Myths About Heart Disease

Feb 13 • 2015

Many of the most common beliefs about heart disease are actually misconceptions. Not knowing the facts can be dangerous for your health. We listed the top five myths about heart disease and the truth behind them.

      1. Heart disease and its risk factors don’t impact me until I’m older. The truth is, your early lifestyle impacts your risk for heart disease later on in life. For example, a poor diet now could lead to clogged arteries later. Obesity and diabetes are major risk factors for heart disease, and these are becoming more present in young people. Additionally, you should begin getting your cholesterol checked as young
        as age 20.
      2. My family has a history of heart disease, so there’s nothing I can do. While it is true that having a family history of heart disease puts you at greater risk, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other risk factors you can address. Integrate exercise into your lifestyle, control your cholesterol, quit smoking, eat a healthy diet, manage your blood pressure, stay at a healthy weight, and keep your blood sugar at
        healthy levels to minimize your chances of developing heart disease.
      3. I don’t have any warning signs of high blood pressure, so I must be fine. This is an especially dangerous misconception for many people. The truth is, high blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer because most people do not realize that they are suffering from it. You may not ever experience any symptoms, so it is important to get a blood pressure test regularly.
      4. If I’m having a heart attack, I’ll know because I’ll feel pain in my chest. This common belief is not necessarily true. While chest pain is common, there are many other smaller symptoms you should be aware of. Look out for shortness of breath, feelings of lightheadedness, nausea, and pain or discomfort in your arms, neck, back, or jaw. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to call 9-1-1 immediately.
      5. I’ve had a heart attack, so I need to avoid exercise. In reality, you should be doing the opposite. After a heart attack, it is important to get moving with a fitness plan that your doctor has approved. People who are physically active and make other heart-healthy choices after a heart attack are more likely to live longer than people who don’t. Activity should not be too intense, so speak with your doctor to develop a
        plan that works best for your needs.

Do you have additional questions about heart disease? Speak with your doctor or visit our FAQ page.