How much do you really know about your heart health? It is easy to believe wrong perceptions. After all, heart disease happens “only” to your elderly neighbor or to an uncle who loves fried food, right? But did you know that heart disease can affect people of all ages, even those who eat right and even those of us who engage in regular exercise? Relying on false assumptions can be dangerous to your heart. There is a chance that you have misconceptions about the risk factors for heart disease, or heart disease itself.
Prof. Amit Segev, Director of the Cardiology Department, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. An expert in interventional cardiology and cardiac catheterization at Herzliya Medical Center, talks about 5 common but misconceptions. Replacing these myths with truths will give you the information you need to plan your path Best for a healthy heart.
Lie: Heart disease is a disease of men
Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over the age of 65. This could mean that women are less aware of the risk factors, or the symptoms of a heart attack. According to data from the National Association of Cardiac Surveys in Israel by the Cardiology Association, young women under the age of 55, who experience a heart attack, are 2.5 times more likely to have complications than men. Therefore, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, ask your doctor to perform a basic risk assessment that includes a cholesterol test, blood sugar and blood pressure. Reduce the risk factors that can be changed – smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise. Then follow the recommendations of your attending physician. If necessary you will be referred for a more advanced evaluation by effortless imaging tests combined with non-invasive imaging of the coronary arteries – virtual catheterization.
Lie: If you smoke for years, you can not reduce the risk if you stop
The benefits of quitting smoking start as soon as you quit, no matter what your age, how long you smoked or how many cigarettes a day you smoked. Just one year after the break, the risk of heart attack dropped by 50%; After 10 years, it’s like you’ve never smoked.
Lie: Heart disease is an adult disease
While the risk of heart disease increases as you get older, it does not mean that younger people are immune to them. Cardiovascular disease can affect anyone, regardless of age. In recent years we have witnessed more heart attacks at young ages and even young women. Among young people, the main factors are a family history of early heart disease and smoking. In addition, some heart problems are congenital (presence of birth) and others such as cardiomyopathy – muscle diseases themselves can appear congenital or acquired for various reasons and at any age.
Lie: I have no symptoms, so I’m fine
Unfortunately, in 50% of cases the first manifestation of heart disease is myocardial infarction / heart attack in people who have been completely asymptomatic before and without any precursor. Plus, you can have a heart attack and not even know it. A small proportion of heart attacks are “silent heart attacks”. When they occur, their symptoms lack the intensity of the typical or classic heart attack. These symptoms may include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness and pain or discomfort in one or both arms, jaw, back or neck. Furthermore, a large proportion of risk factors are silent “killers” – such as hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia. In these cases, risk factors are only discovered when a life-threatening event occurs, such as a heart attack or stroke.
I have heart disease in my genes, so I have nothing to do to avoid it
Genetic factors can increase your risk of heart disease, but even though it causes this condition, it does not mean that you are doomed to experience it in advance. 90% of heart disease is due to harmful lifestyle choices, such as poor diet, smoking and little or no exercise at all. If heart disease does exist in your genes, or if you have a genetic predisposition to risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, it means that preventing them is even more critical to delay the development of cardiovascular disease. You can manage your heart health by scheduling regular tests and making lifestyle changes, which include exercise, eating a healthy and balanced diet and avoiding smoking.
In conclusion, the prevention of cardiovascular disease is first and foremost a war of attrition against known risk factors and early detection of “quiet” risk factors including: hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, overweight, smoking, lack of exercise, non-Mediterranean diet and guest Stressful life In some cases, more advanced imaging tests of the heart and blood vessels can also be performed in order to follow an existing illness in consultation with a cardiologist.
The only risk factor that cannot be changed is the genetic / familial predisposition. But, in this situation, the war on risk factors is even more significant, “concludes Professor Segev.