5 Common Heart Disease Myths Debunked

Mar 09, 2023
misc image
So, heart disease is always related to aging, diet, and family history, right? Maybe not. Our specialist shares the facts about common myths associated with heart disease and why it pays to know the truth.

Despite remarkable advances in early detection, prevention, and minimally invasive treatments, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States.

Enrique Hernandez, MD, at Advanced Vascular Cardiac & Veins in Miami, offers in-office diagnostic testing and personalized care for heart disease. Dr. Hernandez is also passionate about providing education that you can use to make informed decisions about your health.

Check these facts versus the myths about heart disease and who’s at risk.

1. Myth: I don’t need to worry about heart disease until I’m older

Fact: It can take years for arteries to clog, but plaque buildup associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) can begin in childhood or adolescence. In addition, risk factors for CAD, including excess weight, diabetes, and elevated HDL cholesterol, are increasing in teens and young adults.

Incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine now, before your arteries struggle to supply blood to your heart, can help prevent the long-term health consequences of CAD. In addition, Dr. Hernandez can evaluate your cardiovascular health as a young adult and develop a customized strategy to help prevent the development of heart disease as you age.

As a bonus, habits that can help protect your heart health can also reduce your risk of developing diabetes and other serious health conditions.  

2. Myth: High blood pressure doesn’t affect my heart

Fact: Hypertension (elevated blood pressure) is a leading cause of heart attack and stroke. It also plays an extensive role in heart failure, kidney damage/failure, vision loss, memory loss, enlarged heart, and dementia. Hypertension is generally easily treated with medication, increased exercise, and a nutritious, low-salt diet.

Your doctor will likely check your blood pressure every time you come in for a visit. Most pharmacies offer free blood pressure screenings for people who rarely visit the doctor. In addition, inexpensive digital blood pressure cuffs are available for home use without a prescription.

3. Myth: A heart attack always includes chest pain

Fact: Many people report a squeezing pain or crushing pressure in their chest during a heart attack. However, a heart attack can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as sweating, lightheadedness, upper back pain, jaw pain, nausea, anxiety/agitation, and shortness of breath. These symptoms could indicate a heart attack and require emergency medical care.

4. Myth: I can’t reduce my heart disease risk because it runs in my family

Fact: Even if you have a family history of heart disease, you can reduce your risk by developing healthy exercise habits, maintaining a healthy weight, following a nutritious diet, and monitoring your blood pressure.

Depending on your family history, Dr. Hernandez may also recommend testing and ongoing monitoring to catch the signs and symptoms of heart disease at their earliest stages.

5. Myth: Women don’t have to worry about heart disease

Fact: Men often develop heart disease and suffer heart attacks at an earlier age, but once women reach menopause, women have an equal risk of suffering a heart attack as men. In fact, more women die each year from heart disease than from breast cancer. Getting heart exams in early adulthood can help women and men make informed decisions about preventive care.

To learn more about preventing or treating heart disease, call 305-707-5688 or book an appointment online with Advanced Vascular Cardiac & Veins today.