Heart conditions of various kinds are referred to as “heart disease.” Some have genetic causes and cannot be avoided. Through lifestyle changes and, in certain situations, medication, you can significantly lower your chance of developing heart disease.
Heart Disease: Myth vs. Reality
Here are four of the potentially most damaging myths about heart disease that many of us have heard, along with the supporting data for each one.
Myth 1: Heart disease is thought to be a condition of older people.
Reality: The truth is that heart disease is a chronic condition. Its symptoms can increasingly be detected in young people, become frequent by middle age, and are almost always present in the elderly. Since the cardiac disease cannot be reversed, prevention is our main strategy.
Myth 2: Heart disease is a man’s disease.
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Reality: Heart disease does not make distinctions based on gender or ethnicity. Heart disease rates between men and women do differ during adolescence and the first few years of adulthood, but these disparities disappear by middle age.
Myth 3: Heart disease is largely hereditary and influenced by family history, thus we have no personal control over it. Our doctors must provide the necessary treatment for heart illness.
Reality: Up to 90% of the risk of developing heart disease in the average person, according to research, is accounted for by changeable behavioral and psychosocial factors.
Heart disease is a disease of our behavior, emotions, and environment for the majority of us, while in rare situations it is predominantly brought on by genetic causes. The condition and its risk factors are typically “treated” by doctors in order to repair the harm our own lifestyles have done.
For both men and women, stress and mental health appear to be equally as significant risk factors for heart disease as more conventional ones like smoking, diabetes, and physical inactivity.
Myth 4: Heart disease quickly takes our lives, often through a heart attack. It is therefore at least preferable to cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
Reality: It usually takes years for this condition to kill us off slowly before finally taking our lives in old age. By middle age, the condition is gradually robbing people of their quality of life through decreased energy and vitality, deteriorated brain function, and problems with physical and sexual performance, among many other symptoms.
A heart disease is more like death by a thousand cuts than what most people imagine it is—a lightning bolt that strikes abruptly in old age.
Heart Disease Types
Heart disease comes in a variety of forms, and each one has unique signs, causes, and treatments. Some people’s health can be significantly improved by making lifestyle modifications and taking medications. Others could require surgery to restore the functionality of their tickers.
1. Heart Arrhythmias
Your heart’s rhythm is irregular when you have an arrhythmia. Serious arrhythmias can occur on their own, but they frequently result from other heart issues.
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2. Heart Valve Disease
Four valves in your heart open and close to control blood flow between the four chambers of your heart, the lungs, and blood arteries. A deviation could make it difficult for a valve to open and close properly. Your blood flow may get obstructed or blood may leak as a result. Perhaps your valve doesn’t open and close properly.
3. Rheumatic heart disease
Rheumatic fever, a condition that produces inflammation in the heart, brain, joints, and skin, causes irreversible damage to the heart valves in rheumatic heart disease. Bacterial infections that cause strep throat and scarlet fever also cause rheumatic fever.
The heart valves narrow, which can lead to leaking. It may take several years for the condition to advance to this stage, and a history of rheumatic fever is crucial for making the diagnosis. Common signs of rheumatic heart disease include swelling, chest discomfort, and shortness of breath.
If untreated, this condition can eventually result in heart failure or bacterial endocarditis. An infection of the inner lining of the heart is called bacterial endocarditis.
4. Congestive heart failure
The term “congestive heart failure” (or “heart failure” for short) describes the heart muscle’s inability to effectively pump blood to provide the body with oxygen. The sudden loss of heart function, or cardiac arrest, is not the same as congestive heart failure. Persons over 65 are more likely than younger people to have this heart problem.
Congestive heart failure may have coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity as contributory factors. Chest pain, shortness of breath, an accumulation of fluid in the legs, ankles, and feet, as well as a persistent cough, all signs that heart failure may be present.
Structural heart anomalies may also be the cause of congestive heart failure.
5. Congenital heart disease
Congenital heart defects, which alter the design of the heart’s valves, walls, and any nearby arteries or veins, are among the most prevalent birth disorders. Whether a kid will be born with a congenital heart problem depends in large part on the family’s history of congenital heart disease.
Congenital cardiac abnormalities are not all symptomatic or medically treatable. However, some structural issues call for medicine, cardiac surgery, or a heart transplant as a form of treatment.
6. Heart muscle disease
Other heart illnesses, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, can also affect the heart muscle for reasons other than congenital abnormalities.
The disorder known as dilated cardiomyopathy causes the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, to become much weaker because its muscle is stretched and weakened. This interferes with the heart’s capacity to pump blood effectively.
7. Myocardial infarction
A heart attack is sometimes referred to as a myocardial infarction. A heart attack occurs when a clot unexpectedly blocks a coronary artery that surrounds the heart, cutting off the blood flow to the heart. This results in long-term heart muscle damage, which makes heart attack survivors more susceptible to developing other cardiac conditions.
8. Heart Failure
Your heart doesn’t pump blood as efficiently as it should to meet your body’s needs if you have heart failure. The most common cause is coronary artery disease, but other illnesses such as thyroid disease, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, and others can also contribute to it.
Coronary Heart Disease
A common heart ailment is coronary artery disease. The coronary arteries, the main blood channels feeding the heart, have difficulty supplying the heart muscle with enough blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Coronary artery disease is typically brought on by inflammation and cholesterol deposits (plaques) in the heart arteries.
Furthermore, coronary heart disease is another name for coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery disease frequently takes years to develop. Before a substantial blockage causes issues or a heart attack happens, symptoms could go unrecognized. Coronary artery disease can be avoided by living a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Heart Disease Symptoms
Initial symptoms could not be seen, or they might only show up when the heart is pumping rapidly, such as during exercise. Less and less blood reaches the heart as the coronary arteries constrict, and symptoms may worsen or occur more frequently.
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Signs and symptoms of coronary artery disease can include:
Your chest may feel tight or under strain. Some claim that the sensation is similar to having someone stand on their chest. The middle or left side of the chest is the main location for chest pain.
Angina can be brought on by exertion or intense feelings. The pain typically disappears minutes after the triggering event is over. Some people, particularly women, may have brief or sharp neck, arm, or back pain.
In addition, you can experience difficulty breathing.
Furthermore, you may experience unusual fatigue if the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet your body’s requirements.
Lastly, a heart attack is brought on by a totally clogged coronary artery. Chest discomfort or pressure, shoulder or arm pain, breathlessness, and perspiration are the typical indications and symptoms of a heart attack.
Women may experience less common symptoms including neck or jaw pain, tiredness, and nausea. Some heart attacks don’t result in any observable symptoms or indicators.
To determine whether you are at risk of developing heart disease, it is crucial to monitor your heart health. If you are also experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, do not hesitate to consult a cardiologist.
In addition, by making lifestyle changes like increasing your physical activity, eating less saturated fat, which will lower your bad LDL cholesterol levels, and using medication to manage other problems like diabetes and obesity, you can avoid or reduce your risk for many of these heart conditions.
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Republished with permission from theAsianparent Singapore
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