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  • Writer's pictureTatiana Phillips

Unmasking Cardiovascular Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction for a Heart-Healthy Life

A little boy wearing a blue tee shirt who is pointing out his missing tooth.

We all are guilty of forming bad habits or indulging in unhealthy behaviors. Typically, we don’t see it as having a poor effect on our bodies. However, when it comes to our hearts, the damage we cause may not be noticeable until it is too late. Cardiovascular disease is the number one leading cause of death in both men and women. Understanding the most common myths about heart disease, cardiovascular health, and what you can do to remain healthy is essential.

Cardiovascular Myth #1

“I’ll know when I’m having a heart attack because I’ll have chest pain.”

Chest pain is a common sign of a heart attack, but it’s not the only sign. Sometimes, especially in women, chest pain or discomfort is mild enough to be dismissed. Other symptoms can include pain in your back, neck, jaw, one or both arms, nausea, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath.

Cardiovascular Myth #2

“My heart is beating really fast; I must be having a heart attack.”

When you exert your energy from exercising or even walking uphill, your heart muscle pumps harder to get the blood flowing. But that does not mean you are experiencing a heart attack. If you are sitting still and your resting heart rate jumps up suddenly, it might be worth speaking to your doctor about it and running some tests if they feel necessary.

Cardiovascular Myth #3

“I’m too young to worry about my cholesterol.”

If you check your cholesterol from a young age, you are better equipped to catch the start of cardiovascular disease early. High cholesterol plays a role in your heart health by causing fatty deposits to build in your blood vessels, which can clog your arteries. Once your arteries are blocked, you run the risk of stroke or heart attack.

How to Lower Cholesterol For Heart Health

If you discover your cholesterol is at an unhealthy level, there are a few ways you can lower it without resorting to medication.

  1. Eat heart-healthy foods such as salmon, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, or oatmeal, which is high in fiber.

  2. Increase your physical activity. Losing weight may lower your cholesterol.

  3. Quit smoking.

  4. Ditch the alcohol and opt for sparkling water.

Cardiovascular Myth #4

“I’d know if my blood pressure was high because there would be signs.”

High blood pressure is a silent killer. Because there usually aren’t any warning signs, the only way to know for sure is to check your blood pressure regularly. A few factors play into blood pressure numbers, such as age and sex. If you’re concerned about getting the facts straight, it’s best to consult your doctor.

How to Lower Blood Pressure For Heart Health

Your lifestyle plays a role in treating high blood pressure. Tackling unhealthy lifestyle choices may be the ticket to lowering your blood pressure numbers. 

  1. Lose weight. First and foremost, extra pounds put you at risk for several health challenges, such as sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, and hypertension.

  2. Exercise regularly. Not only will regular exercise help lower blood pressure, but it will help you lose weight, too.

  3. Increase your Potassium. Potassium can counteract the effects of sodium on blood pressure.

  4. Reduce salt in your food. Look for reduced sodium labels, opt for herbs and spices instead of salt, and eat fewer processed foods.

  5. Get a good night’s sleep. Research shows that poor sleep can contribute to hypertension.

  6. Reduce stress. High stress can contribute to high blood pressure.

Cardiovascular Myth #5

“There is nothing I can do about to prevent heart disease. It runs in my family.”

Knowing that heart disease runs in your family is an invitation to be proactive and take measures to prevent heart disease from forming. Eating healthy foods that are low in cholesterol and fat, exercising several times a week, not smoking, managing stress through mindfulness and meditation, getting quality sleep, and maintaining low blood pressure can all decrease your chances of developing heart disease.

Heart health is nothing to take lightly. If you feel uncertain about your heart health, contact us today to schedule your next doctor’s appointment.


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