Heart Attack Myths

There are so many myths about heart disease that I decided to round up i few I thought were good. Sources are listed under each list.

10 Heart Attack Myths


How much do you really know about your heart’s health? It’s easy to be fooled by misconceptions. After all, heart disease only happens to your elderly neighbor or to your fried food-loving uncle, right? Or do you know the real truth – that heart disease can affect people of any age, even those who eat right?

Relying on false assumptions can be dangerous to your heart. Cardiovascular disease kills more Americans each year than any other disease. But you can boost your heart smarts by separating fact from fiction. Let’s set the record straight on some common myths.

  1. “I’m too young to worry about heart disease.” How you live now affects your risk for cardiovascular diseases later in life. As early as childhood and adolescence, plaque can start accumulating in the arteries and later lead to clogged arteries. One in three Americans has cardiovascular disease, but not all of them are senior citizens. Even young and middle-aged people can develop heart problems – especially now that obesity, type 2 diabetes and other risk factors are becoming more common at a younger age.
  2. “I’d know if I had high blood pressure because there would be warning signs.” High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because you don’t usually know you have it. You may never experience symptoms, so don’t wait for your body to alert you that there’s a problem. The  way to know if you have high blood pressure is to check your numbers with a simple blood pressure test. Early treatment of high blood pressure is critical because, if left untreated, it can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other serious health problems.
  3.  “I’ll know when I’m having a heart attack because I’ll have chest pain.” Not necessarily. Although it’s common to have chest pain or discomfort, a heart attack may cause subtle symptoms. These include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling lightheaded, and pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the jaw, neck or back. Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. Learn you risk of heart attacktoday!
  4. “Diabetes won’t threaten my heart as long as I take my medication.” Treating diabetes can help reduce your risk for or delay the development of cardiovascular diseases. But even when blood sugar levels are under control, you’re still at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. That’s because the risk factors that contribute to diabetes onset also make you more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Theseoverlapping risk factors include high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and smoking.
  5. “Heart disease runs in my family, so there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.” Although people with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, you can take steps to dramatically reduce your risk. Create an action plan to keep your heart healthy by tackling these to-dos: get active; control cholesterol; eat better; manage blood pressure; maintain a healthy weight; control blood sugar; and stop smoking.
  6. “I don’t need to have my cholesterol checked until I’m middle-aged.” The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20. It’s a good idea to start having a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart disease. Children in these families can have high cholesterol levels, putting them at increased risk for developing heart disease as adults. You can help yourself and your family by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
  7. “Heart failure means the heart stops beating.” The heart suddenly stops beating during cardiac arrest, not heart failure. With heart failure, the heart keeps working, but it doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. It can cause shortness of breath, swelling in the feet and ankles or persistent coughing and wheezing. During cardiac arrest, a person loses consciousness and stops normal breathing.
  8. “This pain in my legs must be a sign of aging. I’m sure it has nothing to do with my heart.” Leg pain felt in the muscles could be a sign of a condition called peripheral artery disease. PAD results from blocked arteries in the legs caused by plaque buildup. The risk for heart attack or stroke increases five-fold for people with PAD.
  9. “My heart is beating really fast. I must be having a heart attack.” Some variation in your heart rate is normal. Your heart rate speeds up during exercise or when you get excited, and slows down when you’re sleeping. Most of the time, a change in your heartbeat is nothing to worry about. But sometimes, it can be a sign of arrhythmia, an abnormal or irregular heartbeat. Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some can last long enough to impact how well the heart works and require treatment.
  10. “I should avoid exercise after having a heart attack.” No! As soon as possible, get moving with a plan approved for you! Research shows that heart attack survivors who are regularly physically active and make other heart-healthy changes live longer than those who don’t. People with chronic conditions typically find that moderate-intensity activity is safe and beneficial. The American Heart Association recommends at least two and a half hours of moderate intensity physical activity each week. Find the help you need by joining acardiac rehabilitation program, or consult your healthcare provider for advice on developing a physical activity plan tailored to your needs.



10 Myths About Heart Attacks


There are a number of myths about heart care and more specifically about heart attack that really need to be dispelled once and for all. We obviously want to stay clear of heart ailments so we carry with us a number of beliefs about things that we consider will either keep us safe from or make us more prone to a heart attack.  But many of these may be misguiding or downright wrong. So let us do away with the unnecessary fears and learn what will actually help our hearts.

Below are some common misconceptions about heart attacks:

If you are Physically fit you are not prone to a heart attack

Most of doctors these days in the heightened reality of nutrition and well being stress the fact that those who are overweight, eat out a lot, or do not exercise and lead a sedentary lifestyle are more susceptible to heart attacks. While they are not wrong, those who are thin, do regular exercise and eat a proper healthy diet are not safe from heart attacks either.  This is because cholesterol deposits which are the most common cause of clogging of arteries can be present in thin people too.  Physical appearance can many times mask an underlying health problem.

Moreover heart problems and heart attacks are also genetic. So if you have a history of heart issues in your family you are more likely to have a hereditary link. There are also factors like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure that put you at a risk, no matter your weight. Gender and age also matter. So in spite of how healthy you look or feel, get a check up to ascertain your heart’s health!

Heart attack symptoms are easily recognizable

While we are pretty used to watching men, in the typical hollywood movies, clutching their chests and falling down from what is apparently a heart attack, it usually isn’t so obvious in real life. The classic symptoms of a heart attack include a heavy feeling in the chest that may be painful. But the heaviness or pain may spread to the left arm, neck, or jaw. Another often ignored symptom is indigestion or heart burn, it may just be something you ate or it could be a heart attack.

Symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Pressure, heaviness or tightness in the chest
  • Pain or pressure in the neck or jaw
  • Pain or pressure in one or both arms (especially the left)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Pain or throbbing between the shoulder blades

Many people suffer from heart attacks but assume it is only heartburn or fatigue. When it comes to your heart, it’s important to consult a doctor rather than to self diagnose!

No chest pain,  no heart attack

Most of us believe that if we were having a heart attack, it would involve having chest pain. But as mentioned above recognizing a heart attack isn’t that easy. The classic signs include chest pain but it needn’t really cause chest painAccording to CNN, 40 to 60 percent of all heart attacks are unrecognized by their victims. If you’re having some sort of unusual discomfort in your back, chest or upper arms, whether or not it is in the middle of your back or the middle of your chest, don’t wait until your heart stops, call an ambulance. Never drive yourself to the hospital if you think you are having a heart attack as you might kill yourself and others doing so.

Women do not suffer from heart attacks

Since women in movies do not clutch at their hearts and collapse to the floor it is assumed that women do not suffer from heart attacks. True, women are less prone to heart attacks before menopause due to the presence of estrogen, which protects them from heart attacks, but post menopause women are just as prone to heart attacks as men are.  In fact, probably moreso.

According to statistics: [courtesy Women’s Heart Foundation]

  • Worldwide, 8.6 million women die from heart diseases each year (including heart attacks), accounting for a third of all deaths in women.
  • Women are twice as likely as men to die within the first few weeks after suffering a heart attack.
  • 38% of women and 25% of men die within one year of a first recognized heart attack.

Women share the same symptoms as men  for a heart attack

Women do not usually experience the commonly expected chest pain as men do when they suffer from heart attacks. 71% of women experience early warning signs of heart attack with sudden onset of extreme weakness that feels like the flu – often with no chest pain at all. Nearly two-thirds of the deaths from heart attacks in women occur among those who have no history of chest pain at all. Even if they do experience mild chest discomfort they simply do not perceive it to be a heart attack like men do. So they must get any abnormal pain checked out.

Here are some of the symptoms of female heart attack:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal discomfort that may seem like indigestion

Medical professionals are challenged to respond to women’s milder symptoms, due to insufficient information and often times when women present in the emergency room with a heart attack they are initially misdiagnosed.

If you have chest pain wait and see if it goes away

If you have a pain in your chest, you  must not sit around and wait to see if it goes away. If you’re having significant chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or any other symptoms that suggest a heart attack, call a 911 or any clinic’s emergency number. If you delay treatment when you are having a heart attack you could cause irreparable damage to your heart and it could also prove to be fatal.

emotions play no role in a heart attack

It is possible to die of fright, or for that matter grief, anger, joy, or just about any other intense emotion. Though usually victims are older and likely to be in unstable health conditions, even younger people could be so affected. It is possible for a terrifying event to trigger a fatal heart attack.

Multiple scientific studies show that important mind and body connections exist for health in general and cardiovascular health in particular. Your levels of stress and wellbeing are extremely important for your cardiovascular health. Higher stress levels or negative emotions like anger or depression could burden your heart pumping due to release of certain hormones in our blood stream like adrenalin. You should therefore look for ways and means to reduce stress and negative emotions in your lives.

Heart attacks are for the old

Though predominantly those who are older are more prone to having a heart attack, it is possible to start developing coronary artery disease as a teenager especially these days with fast food and junk food being a primary source of nutrition for many young people. People in their 20s and 30s have suffered from heart attacks. A heart-healthy lifestyle needs to begin in the childhood, so that kids don’t develop bad habits that they carry to adulthood. Parents should encourage their kids to exercise, limit time spent in front of the television or computer screen, and partake healthy, well-balanced meals.

Children, who are obese, have high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease are at a higher risk. Also, although rare, some children (usually due to genetic differences) can have unusually high cholesterol and thus an increased risk for heart disease.

Another problem today is the kind of lifestyle that we live. Especially the young working population today lives an unbalanced life with no exercise, a lot of junk food and high stress levels. Not to mention overexposure to technology and the sedentary lifestyle it promotes that is proving to harm our lives. For the young it is especially necessary to have regular checkups and a conscious effort to maintain a well balanced life.

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