Cardiologists in India claim, “Heart diseases are the No.1 killer diseases in India. Although there are a lot of advancement in the medical equipment, infrastructure and expertise in cardiology, there is a lack of awareness about this killer disease.” Counting on following heart disease myths can be dangerous.
Myth #1: “I am too young to worry about heart disease.”
Current lifestyle and habits govern the risk of cardiovascular diseases later in life. Arteries can begin accumulating plaque as early as childhood and adolescence, which is why even young and middle-aged people can develop heart ailments.
Myth #2: “ I will be able to tell if I have high blood pressure.”
Individuals who develop high blood pressure may not experience symptoms, which is why it is known as the ‘silent killer’. Rather than waiting for the body to alert with other dangerous signs, high blood pressure can be tested with a simple test. This disorder should not be left untreated as it can develop into more serious conditions like stroke, heart attack, and kidney issues, among others.
Myth #3: “If my heart is beating really fast, I could be having a heart attack.”
Heart rate can vary over the course of a day depending on an individual’s activity levels, like during exercise. However, an irregular heartbeat can signal arrhythmia.
Read more: Everything you want to know about Arrhythmia.
Myth #4: “Does the heart stop beating during a heart attack?”
The blood supply to the heart gets blocked during a heart attack, which can cause heart tissue damage. Heart stops beating in another condition known as ‘cardiac arrest’. A heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest, but the two are different.
Read about: Cardiac Arrest vs Heart Failure vs Heart Attack
Myth #5: “Lying down and resting for sometime will stop heart attack”
If an individual feels s/he is experiencing a heart attack, the doctor or hospital emergency must be called at the earliest. Emergency services can treat or resuscitate if the heart stops mid way. Resting and waiting will only aggravate the situation.
Myth #6: “If I don’t feel chest pain, it is not a heart attack.”
Though chest pain is the most common sign of heart attack, it forms only one of the symptoms. Shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, light-headedness or pain in various parts of upper body could also signal a heart attack.
Read about: 7 Early Signs of Heart Attack
Myth #7: “It is not a heart attack if the chest pain is on the right side, not the left.”
Chest pressure or tightening can be experienced anywhere in the chest, even in the upper abdomen, and commonly spreads to the neck, arm, shoulder and jaw.
Myth #8: “Heart disease affects men and women in the same manner?”
Men and women can experience heart attack very differently. While, chest pain could be the dominant symptom, women may feel unusual symptoms like nausea or heartburn – even days prior to the attack.
Myth #9: “Red wine will reduce my risk of heart disease.”
Drinking is not encouraged among non-drinkers to counter the risks of heart disease, and those who drink must limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink for women.
Myth #10: “Exercise is risky when suffering from heart disease.”
Not always, this is one of the common heart disease myths! Patients recovering from a coronary disease like a heart attack are generally encouraged to join rehabilitation within a two-week period, depending upon the doctor’s prognosis. Exercise helps reduce the progression of heart disease and greatly reduces the chances of it recurring.
Myth #11: “Aspirin and Omega-3-fatty acids keep heart disease away”
Though for most part, these do deter heart disease, they can also cause some issues. Aspirin can aggravate stomach problems, allergies and the risk of excessive bleeding. Omega-3-fatty acid supplements are good for those trying to prevent a second heart attack, but higher doses can lead to excessive bleeding.
Myth #12: “Once I have the heart disease, I will never get it again.”
False. The damage done to the heart is rarely reversible, and taking charge of one’s lifestyle can prevent future incidences. A healthy diet, no smoking and exercise are key factors in controlling risk factors and keeping heart disease at bay.
Myth #13: “If heart disease doesn’t run in my family, it means I am safe”
No. While a family history of heart disease can increase one’s risk of developing the illness, many individuals have heart problems without any family history. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and stress.
Read about: Familial Heart Disease
Myth #14: “There’s nothing I can do to stop heart disease!”
False. You can reduce your risk of heart disease by committing to making positive lifestyle changes and learning more about it.
Read about: 5 Lifestyle Changes for Healthy Heart
Myth #15: “I am doomed if heart disease runs in my family.”
False. Lifestyle changes can lower your risk of developing heart disease, despite a family history.
Myth #16: “I do not need to get my cholesterol checked if I am young.”
Yes. It is a good idea to stay ahead of the disorder by testing regularly, especially if heart disease runs in your family. Children in such families generally have high cholesterol levels, putting them at high risk of developing heart disease as adults. Information is key in preventing it.
Myth #17: “If I have low cholesterol, I am free from any risk of heart disease.”
No. Heart disease is a multi-factor disorder and can also result from smoking, family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and inactive lifestyle.
Myth #18: “My diabetic condition will not affect my heart as long as I take my medication.”
False. Treatment of diabetes definitely reduces the risk or delays the development of heart disease. However, stroke and heart disease may still occur when blood sugar levels are under control because the risk factors that led to diabetes overlap with heart disease. These include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and sedentary lifestyle.
Myth #19: “The pain in my legs is only a sign of ageing. It is not linked to the condition of my heart.”
False. Leg pain could be a sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD), which results from blocked arteries in the legs caused due to build up of plaque in them. People with PAD are at even higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
Myth #20: “Biggest cause of concern in women is breast cancer.”
False. Cardiovascular disease is the biggest cause of death in women.
Regular exercise, balanced diet, avoiding smoke, regular health check-ups and not relying on any of these heart disease myths goes a long way in keeping coronary artery diseases at bay. As mentioned by a top cardiologist in India,
Minor lifestyle changes are key factors in preventing coronary artery disease and managing the risk factors.
This write-up was contributed by Credihealth content team:
Credihealth is a medical assistance company that gives guidance to a patient from the first consultation through the entire hospitalization process. A team of in-house Credihealth doctors helps the patient find the right doctor, book appointment, request cost estimate for procedures and manage admission & discharge processes.
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