Breaking Down 5 Myths About Heart Disease
Not only is February the time for Valentine’s Day, but it is also Heart Disease Awareness Month and American Heart Month. It’s a month for all things heart-related, and we are taking this opportunity to debunk some common myths about heart disease. This is a serious condition that affects millions of people every year. According to the American Heart Association, as of 2018, heart disease continued to rank as the top cause of death in the United States.
Common Heart Disease Myths
- Heart disease affects more men than women.
In reality, more women suffer from heart disease than men. It is the leading cause of death in women over age 65, making it essential to get regular screenings and checkups to manage health. Plaque buildup can take years to develop and catching problems early on can reduce risk.
- It’s too late to quit smoking.
It is never too late to quit. Stopping smoking can reduce your risk of a heart attack by 50% after just one year, and it continues to improve. After 10 years of being smoke-free, your risk is the same as that of a non-smoker. The toxins in cigarettes and tobacco are hard on your heart, lungs, and body. Each day you do not smoke is valuable to your health.
- High blood pressure is normal with aging.
Yes, your blood pressure may increase a bit as you get older, but that is typically because of stiffening of the arterial walls. That means that your heart must work harder to effectively circulate blood. Keeping your blood pressure within target range is the goal, and medication, diet, and lifestyle changes can help. Talk to your doctor to find out what might work best for you.
- Taking cholesterol medication means you can eat what you want.
Medication is not free pass and does not excuse you from making healthy choices. You should still make a conscious effort to manage the amount of cholesterol and saturated fats you eat. If you continue to eat high-cholesterol foods, the medication will eventually become less effective.
- If you don’t have symptoms, you must be fine.
Many people believe that chest pain is the primary symptom of a heart attack. While this may be true for some people, there are many other symptoms that could indicate problems as well, such as jaw pain, arm pain, back pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness/dizziness, or extreme fatigue.
Heart disease can affect people of all ages, even those who are physically fit. It is still important to stay active, manage your blood pressure and cholesterol, and eat a healthy diet to reduce risk. You only have one heart, so you want to do your best to protect it and keep it healthy.
Working with an in-home care provider can help you with planning and preparing healthy meals, remembering to take medications, scheduling appointments, and staying active. Book a free consultation with Always Best Care today and learn more about how we can support healthy aging in place.