What is Heart Disease?
While the term “heart disease” can sound scary, it is actually shrouded by myths and misconceptions. Let’s begin by quickly defining what it means. The term itself pertains to several types of heart conditions. The most prominent one in the United States is coronary artery disease; a disease in which there is a narrowing or blockage of coronary arteries which in turn affects blood flow to your heart.
What are Heart Disease Symptoms?
Often times, heart disease may be silent and can go undiagnosed until person experiences symptoms of heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia, symptoms may include:
- Heart attack: Chest pain or discomfort, pain in the upper back or neck, heartburn, indigestion, nausea or vomiting, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath
- Heart failure: Fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins
- Arrhythmia: Palpitations or fluttering feelings in the chest
Myths Surrounding Heart Disease:
MYTH: Heart disease is prevalent in my family, so there’s not much I can do to prevent heart disease.
On the contrary! The following measures can be a great way in helping your heart to be healthier; even though you might at risk of heart disease:
- Exercise moderately a few times a week
- Maintain a healthy diet low in fatty foods and cholesterol
- Maintain a healthy weight
- If you are a smoker, the sooner you quit, the better it is for your heart and overall health
MYTH: Heart disease is mainly for men.
If you thought heart disease affects men mainly – think again! Not only does heart disease affect more women than men, it also causes more deaths than all forms of cancer combined in women. Heart disease takes the lives of one in three women. In comparison, one in 31 American women die from breast cancer each year.
MYTH: Only older people should be concerned with heart disease.
Although the risk of heart disease increases with age, several other factors play a role throughout life and people can witness symptoms at any age. In rare cases, someone people may be born with a heart condition. Lifestyle factors such as lack of physical activity, overeating, being overweight and smoking can also play a role in the risk of heart disease.
MYTH: Avoid exercise after having a heart attack .
Research shows that heart attack survivors that exercise regularly and incorporate heart-healthy decisions into their lifestyles tend to live longer than those who are inactive. Be sure to speak to your doctor about your exercise regimen following a heart attack.
- Mayo Clinic
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Premier Health