True or False: Busting Myths about Heart Disease

Your heart is responsible for supplying blood to all parts of your body. When your heart is not functioning to its fullest extent, it can cause a number of problems. Below we will be busting myths about heart disease so you are better prepared to take preventative measures against it!

1. If you have heart disease, resting is the best thing you can do.

False. Heart disease can be different for everyone, and it is important to talk to your doctor about what is best for you. In most cases, a sedentary lifestyle can increase your chances of blood clots in the legs, which can worsen your health, according to Harvard Health.

What you can do: Talk to your doctor about what fitness plan works best for you. Just walking 10 minutes a day can improve your heart health, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

2. If you are a long-time smoker, quitting won’t decrease your chances of heart disease.

False. No matter how long you have smoked, the health benefits of quitting begin as soon as you quit. One year after quitting your risk of heart attack decreases by 50%, according to Harvard Health. In 10 years, it will be as if you had never smoked before.

What you can do: Seek help. Quitting is not easy and may require help such as classes, smoking cessation, medication, nicotine gum and more. Always tell you doctor if you are having an issue stopping. Your provider may have some helpful tips or suggestions.

3. Heart disease is an “old man’s” disease.

False. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women over the age of 65, according to the AHA. Although men and women can experience symptoms differently, both genders should be actively taking preventative measure to decrease their chances of heart disease.

What you can do: Be sure you are aware of your numbers. Always check your blood pressure, glucose levels and cholesterol no matter your gender.

4. Vitamins and supplement can be used to decrease your risk of heart disease.

False: Although folic acid is associated with better overall heart health and stroke prevention, the evidence is not strong. Many clinical trials of vitamins and supplements have either failed to confirm a benefit or no conclusion could be drawn, according to Harvard Health. According to the AHA, there is no scientific evidence showing that supplements prevent or treat cardiovascular disease.

What you can do: Your body absorbs and uses the vitamins and minerals through food the best. Eat a wide variety of healthy food to gain all the vitamins and minerals you need, and decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease.

5. High cholesterol, like high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

True: High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up on the walls of your arteries and they begin to narrow. The process is called atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease. When the arteries become narrower, the blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked, causing heart disease and stroke.

What you can do: To reduce high cholesterol, you can reduce your saturated fat intake and eliminate trans fats. Increasing your omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, can also decrease your high cholesterol.

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