Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One in every five deaths can be attributed to a condition under the heart disease umbrella. But as prevalent as it is, there is still a lot of misinformation about the disease. We understand that most patients prefer to leave the medicine to their doctors, but knowing the difference between actual health facts and baseless rumors may significantly affect how patients go about their daily lives.
The following are just a sampling of the common heart health myths we’re happy to debunk for you.
Myth #1: You Have To Take It Easy
Many patients get the idea that once they’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, they need to take it easy to protect their heart health. We understand why you might feel that way, but the truth is, that being sedentary is the worst thing you can do after a diagnosis. Exercise is one of the critical components of a strong, healthy heart. Not everyone with a heart disease diagnosis needs to be out running marathons or lifting weights, but getting your blood pumping regularly is a top heart-healthy recommendation.
If you have concerns about how to safely enter into an exercise regime after your diagnosis, speak with your doctor. The cardiologist who treats you and knows your personal health history is the best person to turn to for advice.
Myth #2: Take Your Meds, And Do What You Want
How lucky we are to live in a world where we have access to lifesaving medications. However, sometimes we see that patients feel their prescriptions give them the freedom to avoid the difficult task of making necessary diet and lifestyle changes. They think the medication will do the work for them, but that isn’t true. We see this often with patients who are on blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes medications. They pop the pill and then move forward with their lives feeling confident that the chemistry will carry them through. However, the medications your doctor prescribes for you are no match for a poor diet or an unhealthy lifestyle. If you want to see meaningful change in your overall cardiovascular health, you must view your medications as one piece of the big heart health puzzle.
Myth #3: Over-the-counter Is Sufficient
Each year a new celebrity comes on the scene claiming they’ve found a miracle cure for their condition. Either they read an article on Facebook about eating berries to cure diabetes, or their sister-in-law swears by a particular supplement to manage her blood pressure. At the end of the day, there is no scientific evidence that any over-the-counter supplement will treat or cure heart disease.
Furthermore, research shows that our bodies absorb vitamins and other nutrients better when they’re eaten as part of a heart-healthy diet. By all means, take your vitamins, but know that the best way to take care of your cardiovascular health will always be a healthy diet, regular exercise, and quality cardiovascular care.
Myth #4: Heart Disease Is A Man’s Problem
Finally, we often hear of women who don’t believe they are at risk of poor heart health because of their sex. But the truth is heart disease is the leading killer of women in the United States. Often, women don’t realize they’re experiencing a heart attack because their symptoms differ from those that men experience. If you are a woman with heart disease risk factors, it’s important to understand what signs and symptoms to look out for.
As the battle for heart health rages on, we’re committed to fighting against myths and misunderstandings to ensure that every one of our patients has access to the most accurate information about their health. If you have questions about your heart disease risk or want to learn more about our practice, contact our office today.