As the number one cause of death in both men and women, knowledge is power when it comes to preventing heart conditions. Whether it runs in your family or not, this is one health issue you shouldn't ignore.
Unfortunately, everyone has an old wives' tale associated with heart disease and cardiovascular health, says Dr. Andy Manganaro, chief medical officer at Life Line Screening. For example, many women don't know they are more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer.
Dr. Manganaro helps separate some myths from reality to keep you in the know:
Myth #1: Heart disease is the same in men and women.
Although men and women share many of the same risk factors for heart disease, there are differences in the way the disease treats each gender's body, according to Harvard Health Publications. Women tend to develop heart disease an average of 10 years later than men, and have a greater chance of dying from the disease. Women have smaller hearts and coronary vessels, which often makes heart surgery difficult. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer of women, so women especially should talk with their doctors about developing a heart health plan.
Myth #2: If it runs in your family, there's nothing you can do about it.
Even if heart conditions run in your family, these diseases are still 80 percent preventable. Healthy behavior changes like losing weight, increasing exercise, eating a healthier diet and keeping your cholesterol in check will help you make tremendous strides towards heart health. The power of prevention is undeniable, especially with preventative screenings that identify risk factors for heart disease and stroke early on. Life Line Screening offers affordable, preventative cardiovascular screenings conveniently in your community.
Myth #3: Heart disease doesn't affect fit and active people.
No matter how many marathons you run or yoga classes you take, you may still be at risk for a heart condition. There are plenty of other factors that can put you at risk, like high cholesterol, poor eating habits, elevated blood pressure, and smoking.
Myth #4: Heart disease always exhibits the same symptoms.
While you might be under the impression that a heart attack always involves extreme chest pain, 64 percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms, according to the American Heart Association (AMA). Women are more likely to experience back or jaw pain, dizziness and lightheadedness, shortness of breath or nausea and vomiting.
Myth #5: Once you have heart disease, it's too late.
It's never too late to treat or prevent heart disease. Your lifestyle plays a crucial role in both controlling risk factors and caring for heart disease. Simple behavior changes like those mentioned above plus consultation with you doctor can help keep your heart, and entire circulatory system, humming along.