February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is one of the main causes of death among all ethnic groups in the United States. Some groups, however, have a higher risk of the disease than others. It is also one of the more expensive diseases to treat and manage, costing over than $300 billion in medical costs per year.
Here are the most common myths about heart disease.
Medications can prevent heart disease.
Medications like cholesterol -lowering drugs can help reduce the risk of heart disease, but if you continue to eat foods that are high in cholesterol, the drugs may not prevent levels from rising. Similarly, vitamins and supplements do not seem to reduce heart cholesterol levels.
If you have heart disease, it is never too late to make lifestyle changes.
It’s never too late to quit smoking, a key factor in heart disease. Similarly, it’s never too late to exercise or watch your diet. Even after you have been diagnosed with heart disease, you can reduce the risk of a heart attack by making key lifestyle changes.
Women have a low risk of heart disease.
Over the past decade, women have been at a higher risk of heart disease. In older women, heart disease can be as deadly as it is for men.
Hypertension is normal in older people.
Hypertension or higher blood pressure levels are a common factor in heart disease, and many older people may be susceptible to hypertension. That does not mean, however, that hypertension can be ignored in older people. High blood pressure levels are not normal, and even if there are minor fluctuations, there are levels beyond which it is absolutely imperative to get treated by a specialist.
Young people do not get heart attacks.
Heart disease in young persons is rare, but can definitely occur. The primary cause of heart attacks in people below the age of 40 seems to be poor lifestyle choices, including bad diet and sedentary living.