6 Common Myths About Heart Health
According to the most recent statistics published by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), almost 7.5 million people are living with heart disease in the UK with some 170,000 deaths attributed to heart and circulatory disease every year. Even more worryingly, a further 100,000 people are admitted to hospital each year as a result of heart attacks.
These are staggering figures, especially considering that many forms of cardiovascular disease are preventable or manageable yet, as any cardiologist in London can attest, there is still a lack of awareness and understanding from the public surrounding heart diseases and heart health. To put the record straight,
Here are some of the most common myths about heart health.
1. Statins Are Bad
There has been much debate over the use of statins, and opinions are strong on both sides of the argument. Statins help to lower the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood and are prescribed to those who have risk factors for heart disease. Some believe that side effects such as muscle pains are common when in fact these are quite rare.
2. Heart Disease Only Affects Men
Again, according to research by the BHF coronary heart disease takes the lives of more women than breast cancer does. Despite this, women are largely unaware of the risk factors of heart disease and are less likely than men to see their doctor with any symptoms until these become serious enough for hospital treatment.
3. Slim, Healthy People Don’t Get Heart Disease
Many people misguidedly believe that if you are of a healthy weight, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet this will protect you from heart disease. While these factors are desirable for good health it doesn’t mean you are protected from possible underlying or hereditary heart problems. A visit to a cardiologist is always advisable for those who are worried they may be at risk or who may worry that they have signs of heart problems.
4. A Heart Attack is the Same as a Cardiac Arrest
Both of these cardiac events are separate and very different from one another. A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery becomes blocked, disrupting blood flow to the heart and causing an erratic heartbeat. A cardiac arrest, on the other hand, is when the heart suddenly stops beating. These are both serious situations in which the emergency services should be called immediately.
5. Heart Attack Symptoms are Easily Recognisable
Mention the words heart attack and most people will picture the stereotypical image of a person, usually male, clasping their hands to their chest and collapsing to the floor. While this may be true in instances where the attack is very acute it is not always the case.
Symptoms can often manifest slowly over time and are initially ignored by the person affected by them. These symptoms can include pain or discomfort in the chest and/or in other parts of the body like the neck, jaw, arm, back or stomach. There may also be intense sweating and clamminess along with shortness of breath.
Women can often experience very different symptoms to men and as such are less likely to call the emergency services straight away. Women can certainly feel the same pain or discomfort, but some have reported a feeling of panic or anxiety, or excessive coughing.
Anyone who experiences symptoms such as the above should always get checked over by a doctor.
6. Only Old People Have Heart Disease
It is most definitely a myth that heart disease only affects older people. Younger people can also suffer from various forms of heart disease without realizing it. In some cases, this could be down to stress or a less than healthy lifestyle.
Whether you were aware of those myths or we’ve helped separate fact from fiction, one fact is that it’s never too early to start looking after your heart health or to seek advice from a cardiologist.