Top 10 cardiology myths as defines by AHA

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  1. I’m too young to worry about heart disease. Even young and middle-aged people can develop heart problems – especially now that obesity, type 2 diabetes and other risk factors are becoming more common at a younger age.
  2. I’d know if I had high blood pressure because there would be warning signs. High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because you don’t usually know you have it. 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.
  3. I’ll know when I’m having a heart attack because I’ll have chest pain. 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.
  4. Diabetes won’t threaten my heart as long as I take my medication. Even when blood sugar levels are under control, you’re still at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.  The risk factors that contribute to diabetes onset also make you more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. These overlapping risk factors include high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and smoking.
  5. Heart disease runs in my family, so there’s nothing I can do to prevent it. You can take steps to dramatically reduce your 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.
  6. I don’t need to have my cholesterol checked until I’m middle-aged. The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20. It’s a good idea to start having a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart disease.
  7. Heart failure means the heart stops beating. The heart suddenly stops beating during cardiac arrest, not heart failure.
  8. This pain in my legs must be a sign of aging. I’m sure it has nothing to do with my heart. Leg pain felt in the muscles could be a sign of a condition called peripheral artery disease.
  9. My heart is beating really fast. I must be having a heart attack. 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.
  10. I should avoid exercise after having a heart attack. No! As soon as possible, get moving with a plan approved for you.