Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S. Every year, an estimated 610,000 Americans die from cardiovascular disease and 735,000 experience a heart attack. Despite being a well-known affliction, there are still many myths about heart disease.
Here’s one: If it’s a heart attack, I will only experience chest pain.
Sure, chest pain and discomfort are common signs, and you might feel a sensation of pressure in your chest. But other symptoms can indicate a possible heart attack, including feeling dizzy, shortness of breath or nausea. You might also break out in a cold sweat, or feel pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back or one or both arms.
Symptoms can differ between men and women. Women are more likely to experience nausea or vomiting; arm, neck, jaw or back pain; fatigue; unexplained anxiety; or shortness of breath. Men are more prone to unusual fatigue or weakness, breaking out in a cold sweat, dizziness and shortness of breath.
Myth two: I have a family history of heart disease, so there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.
While you might have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, a healthy lifestyle can lower those odds. Exercise, a healthy diet, watching your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels and refraining from smoking all help.
Another myth is that heart disease is only a threat to older people. The threat of getting heart disease earlier in life is increasing, with levels of Type 2 diabetes and obesity steadily rising among Americans.
When it comes to your heart health, don’t be misled by myths. Learn the facts and give your heart a fighting chance.