Lake Norman OBGYN celebrates Healthy Heart Month to raise awareness about heart disease. When it comes to prevention, separate fact from fiction. Which myths have you heard?
Myth #1: Heart disease threatens men, but cancer is the real threat for women.
Fact: The devastating effects of breast cancer cannot be denied. But it’s important for women to know that heart disease strikes more women than men and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
Myth #2: Only elderly people develop heart disease.
Fact: Risks increase with age, but heart disease affects both young and old. Did you know that taking birth control pills while smoking increases your heart disease risk by 20%? Additionally, leading a sedentary life when young can cause plaque to accumulate overtime, leading to hardening of the arteries, a condition that causes heart disease.
Myth #3: Heart disease doesn’t affect you if you’re physical fit.
Fact: Exercise definitely helps in the fight against heart disease. But factors that can’t be controlled, such as family history, also play a role. High blood pressure and cholesterol doesn’t always correspond with being physically fit. The American Heart Association recommends that women begin getting their cholesterol levels checked regularly at age 20.
Myth #4: You only have heart disease if you have symptoms
Fact: Contrary to popular belief, sharp chest pains are always the telltale signs of a heart attack. Women are more likely to demonstrate symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting can also occur. It’s also a fact that 64%of women who die suddenly from coronary heart disease showed no previous symptoms.
Myth #5: If your family has a history of heart disease, nothing can be done.
Fact: Women with a family history of heart disease may be at a higher risk, but lots can be done to reduce it. Living a heart healthy life is a great place to start.
Talk to your physician about tips for ensuring you’re living a Heart Healthy lifestyle.