Contributed by – Healthians Team
There’s no doubt in the fact that cardiovascular diseases are one of the biggest threats to our lives. If you are ignoring them by thinking that only your elderly neighbour or obese uncle is at the risk of heart diseases, then you are mistaken. Relying on such assumptions can be dangerous for your heart because, in reality, heart diseases can affect anyone at any age. So, let’s set the record straight and bust such common cardiovascular myths.
Some common myths about cardiovascular diseases
Myth-1: Cardiovascular diseases are a man’s disease.
The truth is that women have risk factors that men don’t. Endometriosis, polycystic ovary disease (PCOD) and high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy increase the risk of heart diseases in women. Moreover, traditional risk factors like high cholesterol levels, smoking and obesity are also there. So, we can say that women are nowhere safe from cardiovascular diseases.
Myth 2: If you have no symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, then you’re safe.
It is possible for you to have the symptoms of heart diseases and they would still go unnoticed. For example, dizziness, fatigue and low blood pressure are some of the signs of heart attack that people don’t take notice of because these symptoms are common in day-to-day life. In addition, men and women tend to have a variation in symptoms. This only leads to confusion and as a result, timely help is not received.
Myth 3: Heart diseases are only a concern for older people.
The risk of heart diseases indeed increases as you grow older. But other factors can also contribute to the risk irrespective of your age. People with a family history of cardiovascular diseases fall in the high-risk group. And other lifestyle practices such as lack of physical activity, being overweight, overeating and smoking also increase your risk even if you are young.
Myth 4: If you workout regularly, you don’t have to worry about cardiovascular diseases.
While exercising regularly and being physically active can help you keep your weight in check (which is one risk factor for heart diseases), it doesn’t entirely eliminate the risk. Other causes like family history and consumption of a diet high in cholesterol can still lead to cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, to understand your risk correctly, consulting a doctor and going for regular health checkups is necessary.
Myth 5: Having high blood pressure or high cholesterol would tell you about your risk.
High blood pressure is a silent killer and symptoms don’t usually appear. So, unless you test your blood pressure you would not know there’s a problem. The same goes for cholesterol levels. You can be in a perfectly good shape and still have high cholesterol levels. This only leads to the development of cardiovascular diseases over time.
Myth 6: You can wait until middle age to have your cholesterol checked.
It’s a good idea to start having a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart diseases. Children in these families can have high cholesterol levels, putting them at increased risk for developing heart diseases as adults. You can help yourself and your family by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Myth 7: Your aching legs is just a sign of ageing.
Pain in your leg muscles could be a sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD). It results from blocked arteries in the legs caused by plaque buildup and can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Myth 8: Diabetes isn’t a problem for cardiovascular diseases if you are on medication.
Treating diabetes doesn’t mean that your risk of heart diseases has vanished. It can only help you reduce or delay them. The factors that contribute to diabetes (like obesity, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, etc) are also the factors that lead to cardiovascular diseases. Hence, your risk persists even when you are on medication for diabetes.
Myth 9: Once you’ve had a heart attack, you should avoid exercise.
Only those people who have significant long-term restrictions are advised against doing exercises. For others, regular exercise only helps to make the lifestyle healthier and reduces the progression of heart disease. However, the exercise plan should be approved by the doctor for you.
Keeping track of your heart’s health can give you enough time to eliminate unhealthy habits and incorporate healthier ones. But, if at any point, you notice symptoms of heart diseases, then without any delay consult with a doctor and get tested.