Heart Disease Prevention Myths

With increasingly busy work and homes schedules, most men rarely have time to stop to think about preventative health measures. However, if men really want to provide the best possible future for their families, proper screening and preventive measures for heart disease can never start too early. A number of myths and inaccurate information about heart disease have shown up in recent years. It is important to sort out fact from fiction to make certain you will be around for all the important events in your families’ lives.

The first myth that needs to be addressed is that heart disease only strikes older people and should not be a concern until later in life. This is an incredibly naïve outlook and could potentially have fatal results. The reality of the situation is that heart disease can strike those with certain risk factors or lifestyles as early as their teens and twenties. Increasingly poor diets among individuals, as well as hereditary factors can cause the disease to prevent itself much earlier on in life than many people believe.

Another popular myth is that eating a diet low in fat is a substitute for regular blood pressure and cholesterol screening. A low-fat diet isn’t necessarily a healthy diet because there are different types of fat; some good, some bad. Excess consumption of trans fats found in many popular fast foods, snacks, etc. has an extremely negative effect on the heart and lead to clogged arteries which can lead to heart attacks. Additionally, the eggs so many people eat for breakfast every day are loaded cholesterol. The yolk of one egg contains your entire daily allotment of cholesterol. One way egg-lovers can get around this is to only eat egg whites which contain no cholesterol.

A third common misconception is that exercise is the magic cure-all for a healthy heart. Unfortunately, while daily exercise has many health benefits, there are several genetic factors that trump a healthy lifestyle. There is a higher rate of heart disease among men and older people, as well as those with a family history of high cholesterol and/or blood pressure or diabetics. Anyone with these genetic precursors to heart disease should make sure they get yearly checkups with their doctor because medication may be necessary to prevent problems in the future.

A myth that does have some degree of truth is that alcohol is good for the heart. Indications are that small amounts of alcohol daily can have some benefits for the heart. However, excess amounts of alcohol can have serious effects on the heart and even lead to dead. The key to alcohol consumption is the same as it has always been: moderation. Those who drink responsibly should not experience any ill side effects.

Perhaps one of the most serious misconceptions out there is that there will always be warning signs/symptoms prior to a heart attack. Doctors warn that waiting until you experience the most common symptoms of a heart attack may prove fatal. Common symptoms include: crushing chest pains, pain in your arms, and shortness of breath. Additionally, up estimates of 25%-30% of people never experience these symptoms at all. This is a prime example of why regular checkups with your doctor are vital to your health.

The bottom line is that heart disease is not always predictable. It can strike anyone at almost any time. While there are people who are genetically predisposed to the disease, the unhealthy, fast-food filled diets of many adults also plays a major role in overall heart health. It is important to understand all these myths and risks factors because a healthy diet and exercise may not be enough; medication may be necessary to control your blood pressure and cholesterol.