There are a number of myths about heart care and more specifically about heart attacks. We obviously want to stay clear of heart ailments so we carry with us a number of beliefs about things that we consider will either keep us safe from or make us more prone to heart attacks. But many of these may be misguiding or downright wrong. So let us do away with the unnecessary fears and learn what will actually help our hearts.
Below are some common misconceptions that we try to clear for you:
If you are fit you are not prone to heart attacks
Most of our doctors, health magazines and elders stress on the fact that those who are overweight, eat out a lot, or do not exercise are more susceptible to heart attacks. While they are not wrong, those who are thin, do regular exercise and eat proper are not safe from heart attacks either. This is because cholesterol depositions which are the most common cause of clogging of arteries can be present in thin people too. Physical appearance can many times mask an underlying health problem.
Moreover heart problems and heart attacks are also genetic. So if you have a history of heart issues in your family you are likely to get it too. There are also factors like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure that put you at a risk, no matter your weight. Gender and age also matter. So in spite of how healthy you look or feel, get a check up to ascertain your heart’s health!
It’s easy to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack
While we are pretty used to watching men, in the typical Bollywood movies, clutching their chests and falling down from what is apparently a heart attack, it needn’t come so obviously. The classic symptoms of a heart attack include a heavy feeling in the chest that may be painful. But the heaviness or pain may spread to the left arm, neck, or jaw.
- Chest pain
- Pressure, heaviness or tightness in the chest
- Pain or pressure in the neck or jaw
- Pain or pressure in one or both arms (especially the left)
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or throbbing between the shoulder blades
Many people suffer from heart attacks but assume it is only a heartburn or fatigue. When it comes to your heart, it’s important to consult a doctor rather than to self diagnose!
No chest pain means no heart attack
Most of us believe that if we were having a heart attack, it would involve having a chest pain. But as mentioned above recognizing a heart attack isn’t that easy. The classic signs include chest pain but it needn’t really cause chest pain. According to CNN, 40 to 60 percent of all heart attacks are unrecognized by their victims. If you’re having some sort of unusual discomfort in your back, chest or upper arms, whether or not it is in the middle of your back or the middle of your chest, don’t wait until your heart stops; go to a hospital and get a check up done.
Women do not suffer from heart attacks
Since womenin movies do not clutch at their hearts and collapse to the floor it is assumed that women do not suffer from heart attacks. True, women are less prone to heart attacks before menopause due to the presence of estrogen, which protects them from heart attacks, but post menopause women are just as prone to heart attacks as men are. In fact, probably more.
According to statistics: [courtesy Women’s Heart Foundation]
- Worldwide, 8.6 million women die from heart diseases each year (including heart attacks), accounting for a third of all deaths in women.
- Women are twice as likely as men to die within the first few weeks after suffering a heart attack.
- 38% of women and 25% of men die within one year of a first recognized heart attack.
Women have the same symptoms as men have for a heart attack
Women do not usually experience the commonly expected chest pain as men do when they suffer from heart attacks. 71% of women experience early warning signs of heart attack with sudden onset of extreme weakness that feels like the flu – often with no chest pain at all. Nearly two-thirds of the deaths from heart attacks in women occur among those who have no history of chest pain at all. Even if they do experience mild chest discomfort they simply do not perceive it to be a heart attack like men do. So they must get any abnormal pain checked up.
Here are some of the symptoms of female heart attack:
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual fatigue
- Abdominal discomfort that may seem like indigestion
Medical professionals are challenged to respond to women’s milder symptoms, due to insufficient information.
If you have chest pain wait and see if it goes away
If you have a pain in your chest, you definitely must not sit around and wait to see if it goes away. If you’re having significant chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or any other symptoms that suggest a heart attack, call a hospital or any clinic’s emergency number. If you delay treatment when you are having a heart attack you could cause irreparable damage to your heart and it could also prove to be fatal.
You cannot die simply out of fear or severe emotions
It is possible to die of fright, or for that matter grief, anger, joy, or just about any other intense emotion. Though usually victims are older and likely to be in unstable health conditions, even younger people could be so affected. It is possible for a terrifying event to trigger a fatal heart attack.
Multiple scientific studies show that important mind and body connections exist for health in general and cardiovascular health in particular. Your levels of stress and wellbeing are extremely important for your cardiovascular health. Higher stress levels or negative emotions like anger or depression could burden your heart pumping due to release of certain hormones in our blood stream like adrenalin. You should therefore look for ways and means to reduce stress and negative emotions in your lives.
If you are young you will have no heart problems
Though predominantly those who are older are more prone to having a heart attack, it is possible to start developing coronary artery disease as a teenager. People in their 20s and 30s have suffered from heart attacks. A heart-healthy lifestyle needs to begin in the childhood, so that kids don’t develop bad habits that they carry to adulthood. Parents should encourage their kids to exercise, limit time spent in front of the television or computer screen, and partake healthy, well-balanced meals.
Children, who are obese, have high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease are at a higher risk. Also, although rare, some children (usually due to genetic differences) can have unusually high cholesterol and thus an increased risk for heart disease.
Another problem today is the kind of lifestyle that we live. Especially the young working population today lives an unbalanced life with no exercise, a lot of junk food and high stress levels. Not to mention overexposure to technology implements that is proving to harm our lives. For this populatonis it especially necessary to have regular checkups and a conscious effort to maintain a well balanced life. To know more about 10 Myths About Heart Attacks Debunked!
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