Busting 4 Common Heart Disease Myths

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Doubts about the feasibility of dietary supplements… and healthy behaviors reduce genetic risks

Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA): Julie Corbis

Below, we look at the historical background behind 4 common heart health myths and what current research reveals. It can be seen that many of the basic tips related to maintaining a healthy person have proven their relevance despite the passage of time: refrain from smoking, exercise and eat vegetables. However, over the decades, some recommendations related to the prevention of heart disease have evolved, thanks to a constant influx of new evidence from medical research.

beliefs and superstitions

There are long-held habits and beliefs that are often difficult to shake. However; Knowing the latest scientific evidence can help you make better choices for preventing, monitoring, and monitoring heart disease.

Below, we’ll look at the 4 common misconceptions associated with heart disease, along with advice from Dr. Deepak L. bhat; Editor of the Harvard Letter to the Heart.

Myth 1: Taking a daily fish oil supplement can help protect you against heart disease. in the seventies; Scientists have noticed that people whose diet includes lots of fatty fish suffer from lower rates of heart disease. It should be noted that oily fish are rich in two omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have biological effects that can return benefits to the heart and blood vessels. , such as calming inflammation and preventing blood. clots. In the 1980s, omega-3 fish oil supplements started appearing in stores. and today; These capsules are among the most popular supplements sold in the United States.

However; Over the past two decades, many trials have compared omega-3 supplements to placebos and found no evidence that these capsules can prevent heart attacks or heart attack-related problems in healthy individuals. health. In this regard; “Don’t waste your money on over-the-counter omega-3 supplements,” says Dr. Bhatt. It should be noted here that, as with all supplements, omega-3 supplements are not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration, and some contain unhealthy saturated or oxidized fats, industrial pollutants, or mercury, according to Dr. Bhatt.

Myth 2: It’s okay to have high blood pressure over age 65. As individuals age; The walls of the arteries become more and more rigid, forcing the heart to pump harder. Therefore; Blood pressure tends to increase. This phenomenon was originally called “essential hypertension” because doctors believed that in older people high blood pressure was necessary to supply enough blood to the brain. Therefore; Some doctors have speculated that after about age 65, systolic blood pressure (the first number in a reading) can reach 150 mm Hg.

However; Current guidelines advise adults to aim for a systolic pressure of 130 mm Hg or less. To achieve this goal, people often need to take two or more blood pressure medications. Although this can make the elderly vulnerable to side effects; Like dizziness, seizures, and falls, these fears seem unwarranted in most cases.

Recent research has found rates of side effects in older adults who aim for lower blood pressure (about 120-130 systolic) than those who have higher blood pressure goals (130-150 systolic). Most important; Lower goals have led to lower rates of strokes, heart attacks and other serious cardiovascular problems.

As for Dr. Bhatt’s advice, it’s: “It doesn’t matter how old you are; Work with your doctor to get blood pressure below 130/80, assuming you have no side effects.

– The heart of family and women

Myth 3: A family history of heart disease means you will inevitably have it. It’s true that having a parent or sibling with heart disease increases your risk of developing this common condition, especially if that relative had “early-onset heart disease.” Which is defined as “a heart attack that occurs before the age of 55 in men and before the age of 65 in women”. Coronary artery disease, which occurs when fatty deposits narrow the arteries supplying blood to the heart, is the most common form of heart disease. Factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure may be linked to a higher risk of heart disease and related genes. However; Unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and poor diet, also tend to be more common among members of the same family and may contribute to increased risk.

“For most people, lifestyle factors weigh more in the development of heart problems than genetics, so healthy habits can help counteract hereditary risks,” Dr. Bhatt explained.

If early heart disease runs in your family, you may have an inherited fatty disorder, such as familial hypercholesterolemia (abnormally high LDL cholesterol) or elevated lipoprotein (a).” You can find more information about tests and treatments on the American Heart Association website.


Myth 4: Only women have unusual heart attack symptoms. About 20 years ago, the American Heart Association launched the Go Red for Women campaign to help educate women about heart disease and common symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness and jaw pain.

Some studies have indicated that women are more likely to develop these symptoms than men. However; The differences between the two types remain limited, with the possibility of less common symptoms in men as well.

in this direction; “Be aware of all of these symptoms and call 911 if you think you are having a heart attack,” Dr. Bhatt advised.

Common and less common heart attack symptoms

Symptoms of the most common heart attacks in men and women are similar. Although women are a little more likely to experience nausea and shortness of breath, many men experience these symptoms. Other less common symptoms include fatigue, pain between the shoulder blades, dizziness, neck and jaw pain, palpitations, fainting, stomach pain, indigestion, and pain in the right arm or At the shoulder.

* “Harvard’s Letter to the Heart”

– Media Tribune Services


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