World Heart Day is Sept. 29 and the World Heart Federation, which is made up of members such as the American Heart Association, is busting five common myths about heart disease.
1. “Heart disease only affects older people.”
FALSE. Heart disease is not limited to one particular age group. The World Heart Federation cites data from the Global Burden of Disease Study in 2016, which found that 22 percent of all Disability-Adjusted Life Years (or years of healthy life lost) in people 15-49 years old are due to cardiovascular disease.
2. “If I had high blood pressure I would have obvious symptoms.
FALSE. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, often does not present with obvious symptoms. It can occasionally develop symptoms like headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, heart palpitations and nosebleeds, but not always, saws the World Heart Federation.
3. “Heart disease runs in my family, so there’s nothing I can do about it.”
FALSE. While genetic factors do play a role in heart disease risk, additional controllable factors can increase an individual’s risk. Hereditary factors combined with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking or a poor diet, increase an individual’s heart disease risk further.
4. “I’m less likely to develop heart disease if I’m active, eat well and don’t smoke.”
Mostly TRUE. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease, but there are still additional risk factors, such as air pollution, which can increase a person’s risk for heart disease.
5. “Having diabetes doesn’t mean I have a higher chance of developing heart disease.”
FALSE. Diabetes is a recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Diabetes increases an individual’s risk for myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, peripheral artery disease and stroke.