Myth Busters

MYTH & FACTS

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MYTH 1: If you have heart disease, you can’t be physically active.

Being sedentary for patients with heart disease is not good. It can lead to thrombosis, (blood clots) in the legs and can cause further problems and worsen the general condition. Physical activity is very necessary for cardiac patients and helps strengthen the heart muscle and keeps the heart active and also improves overall health and well-being of the cardiac patient

However one has to be careful about the kind of exercise. It is best to consult the cardiologist to understand the kind of exercise that would be mostdoctors recommend, walking as any amount ofwalking.

MYTH 2: Vitamins and supplements can lower the risk of heart disease.

The antioxidant vitamins E, C and beta carotene are beneficial for the heart, however there is no scientific evidence that heart disease can be prevented by these supplements.

It is a good idea to include these vitamins as a part of the diet for general health purposes. Better than taking the supplements from the pharmacy, it is better to include these in the foods. Therefore foods of all colours should be consumed.

MYTH 3: People who are older normally have higher blood pressure and there is no need to treat this.

Although Blood pressure tends to rise with age.If it is above 140/90 millimetres, one has to connect with the cardiologist and get treatment for high blood pressure. The blood pressure rises in old age because artery walls become stiff and hard with age.  This stiffness makes the heartpump harder. The heart muscle gets overworked and  becomes less effective and pumps harder to meet the body’s need  The arteries  get further damages and atherosclerotic  plaques are further deposited .As a result of this the person has higher chances of getting stroke and heart attack . High blood pressure can also lead to damage of other organs like the kidney and the eyes and hence has to be treated so as to keep it within the normal range.

MYTH 4: Diabetes medicine alone can reduce the risk of heart disease in diabetics.

Diabetes  medication  will lower the  blood sugar levels This will help in  preventing complications that affect the smaller blood vessels (micro vascular complications), such as kidney disease, loss of vision, erectile dysfunction, and nerve damage. But this does not have effect on the large blood vessels those are more prone to be damaged due to the high levels of cholesterol. Hence cholesterol lowering medications should also be added to diabetes medicine if the levels of cholesterol are high .Also to reduce the risk the blood pressure should be controlled

MYTH 5: Smokers can’t reduce your risk of heart disease?

The benefits of quitting smoking start the minute one quits. One year after quitting, the risk of heart attack decreases by 50% and in 10 years it is equivalent to the risk of non-smokers. It is a good idea to quit smoking as soon as one can

MYTH 6: Heart disease is more common in man and rarely affects women.

In recent years more women than men have died each year from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over age 65, just as it’s the leading killer of men. Regular health and cardiac assessment profiles are advised to prevent heart disease both in men and women. Healthy life style choices are recommended and one has to remain active.

MYTH 7: If one has heart disease there should be low fat or minimum fat of any kind in your food. Everyone should eat low diet in saturated fat, partially hydrogenated fat, and Tran’s fat. However unsaturated fats in vegetable oils and other foods are beneficial.  Eating fish which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, twice a week can actually lower the risk of heart disease. Therefore one should include low-fat dairy products, fatty fishes, nuts, and olive oil in the diet.

MYTH 9: A small heart attack a minor illness

A small heart attack may cause less damage to the heart muscle but any heart attack small or big is to be taken seriously .It is a big warning sign and one has to take adequate steps to ensure that it is not repeated. On should try to minimize the risk of heart attack by keeping the weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure in a normal range. People should quit smoking and maintain an active lifestyle by doing regular exercises.

MYTH 10: Angioplasty and stenting or bypass is all that one needs if one has heart disease

Angioplasty and bypass surgery open up the block in the arteries and can stop the angina pain and can prevent the damage to the heart due to low blood supply. These procedures can remove the blockage of the heart but if the underlying disease—atherosclerosis is not controlled and preventive the arteries can get clogged again and patient can have progressive heart disease.  After undergoing angioplasty or bypass surgery take proper steps to prevent high cholesterol or blood pressure. A proper diet and exercise schedule has to be followed and one should quit smoking.

Myth 11: Enough good cholesterol can compensate for the bad cholesterol.

Although a high HDL level is certainly good it cannot compensate for the bad cholesterol. Instead of looking at total cholesterol, which includes “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, it is better to focus on LDL cholesterol as this will indicate how much damage the cholesterol can do to the vessel wall

Myth 12: Exercise and diet are always enough to lower a very high LDL cholesterol.

A heart-healthy diet may lower your LDL somewhat, but the addition to this Statins which are cholesterol-lowering medications may also be needed. It is important to keep the LDL low to prevent the chances of heart disease.

Myth13: All people who have heart disease will have chest pain

Sixty-four per cent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have had no previous symptoms. Symptoms vary between men and women, Women and diabetic men have atypical symptoms such as shortness of breath, vomiting, feeling of dizziness, light-headedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.

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