Get to know your heart

Get to know your heart

HEART MYTHS

Get to know your heart

On World Heart Day, Dr Amar Singhal dispels common myths associated with heart disease.Today is World Heart Day. Let’s take a look at some myths commonly related to the heart.  Remember, awareness about the heart and heart diseases can help you be in control of your health.

Heart diseases cannot occur at an early age

Heart  disease does not have pity on anyone. Plaque can start accumulating in the arteries as early as the 20s and even teens, leading to the clogging of arteries. Even school kids are now showing early signs of arterial disease, with their inactive, junk-food lifestyles.

High cholesterol and high blood pressure come with a warning

High blood pressure is denoted as a “silent killer” because you may never experience the symptoms, even when you have it. So don’t wait for your body to alert you that there’s a problem. Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of blood hitting the walls of arteries as blood circulates. It should be checked regularly because it is impossible to feel anything when the blood pressure is high. However, an early treatment of high blood pressure is critical because, if left untreated, it can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other serious health problems.

Heart disease is a man’s disease

Men have a higher risk of heart attack than women, and men usually have heart attacks at earlier ages. Heart attacks kill more women every year than breast or lung cancer, stroke and diabetes combined. That is why it is necessary for the women to know their numbers and get regular screenings for cholesterol and blood pressure because sometimes, the symptoms in women are passed off as stress-related.

Diabetes is not a threat to the heart as long as the blood sugar level is under control
People with diabetes are healthiest when their blood sugar levels are within a normal range, but diabetes itself causes inflammation that can damage blood vessels, raising the risk of heart disease and other health problems. One shouldn’t be too complacent, if one has diabetes but the sugar is controlled.

Heart disease cannot be prevented if it runs in the family

Although, people with a family history of heart disease are at a higher risk, one can take steps to dramatically reduce their risk. Create an action plan to keep your heart healthy by tackling these to-dos: get active; control cholesterol; eat better; manage blood pressure; maintain a healthy weight; control blood sugar; and stop smoking.

Heart failure means the heart stops beating

The heart suddenly stops beating during cardiac arrest, not heart failure. When the heart fails, the heart keeps working, but it doesn’t pump blood the way it should. It can cause shortness of breath, swelling in the feet and ankles or persistent coughing and wheezing. During cardiac arrest, a person loses consciousness and stops normal breathing.

A faster heart beat means chances of a heart attack

The heart rate speeds up during exercise or when one gets excited, and slows down when one sleeps. Most of the time, a change in your heartbeat is nothing to worry about. But sometimes, it can be a sign of arrhythmia, an abnormal or irregular heartbeat. Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some can last long enough to impact how well the heart works and may require treatment.Chest pain means heart attack.

Not necessarily. Although it’s common to have chest pain or discomfort, a heart attack may cause subtle symptoms. These include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling lightheaded, and pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the jaw, neck or back.

(The writer is Senior Consultant, Cardiology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute.

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