Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, indiscriminate of race or gender in the statistics. It is also one of the most commonly misunderstood areas of medicine by the common person, as it is normally perceived to happen only to the middle-aged or elderly.
But it is prevalent not just in people of advanced age. In fact, it can affect people of any age, even if they exercise and eat right. As the number one cause of American deaths every year, heart disease should be part of the average person’s basic knowledge if they are to prevent it.
In this article, we are going to talk about some cardiovascular disease misconceptions in order to dispel the misunderstanding surrounding this area of health.
FALSE: Only older people are at risk of heart disease.
Your lifestyle now is part of what determines your risk for heart ailments later in life. Many cardiovascular diseases are caused by the buildup of plaque in the arterial linings over a long period of time. And while this may take to develop, the preventative measures you could take matter only if you take them now.
And this doesn’t even take into account the various congenital heart conditions that could be present in your physiology at your current age.
FALSE: I don’t have any high blood pressure symptoms so I don’t have it.
High blood pressure is often called a silent killer because most people who have it don’t even know it. The problem with high blood pressure is that people who have it might be completely asymptomatic, with no way of knowing other than a blood pressure test.
It is important to address high blood pressure as early as possible, to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and other serious health problems.
FALSE: Heart attacks always come with chest pains.
It is completely possible for a heart attack to not result in chest pains, and just have the other symptoms. These other symptoms are shortness of breath, nausea, feeling lightheaded, pain or discomfort in your arms, jaw, neck, or back.
Any number of illnesses can be attributed to any of these symptoms, so it is important to know your risk level for heart attacks in case it doesn’t come with chest pains.
FALSE: The pain in my legs is probably a muscle thing.
While leg pain in the muscles could be just muscle pains, it could also be a sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is caused by arterial plaque blocking arteries in the legs. This condition could increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
FALSE: Heart failure means the heart has stopped beating.
Cardiac arrest is what causes the stopping of the heart. When suffering from heart failure, the heart keeps working but no longer as it normally should. It can cause shortness of breath, swelling in the feet and ankles, and persistent coughing and wheezing.
Cardiac arrest, on the other hand, often results in the person losing consciousness as well as stopping their normal breathing.
There are many different types of heart disease, with varying symptoms and degrees of effect. One thing is certain about all of them: in order to have higher chances of surviving them, a patient must understand what causes them and address those causes as early as possible. With a good diet, proper exercise, and the wisdom of medical professionals, you could not only reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases, but it can also prevent them entirely.
And if you’re looking for resources and information on heart disease, send us at Garden State Medical Group a message. We’re here to help patients in North Bergen!