Heart health: Myths cardiologists wish people stop believing – Times of India

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Many people are told to slow down and go easy after they are diagnosed with a heart condition. This is the biggest myth, cardiologists have said.

Sedentary lifestyle is a slow killer. Physical activity strengthens the heart, improves blood flow and keeps it healthy.

While it is partly true as blood pressure tends to rise with age, it is not the reason why cholesterol and blood pressure rise in older people.

With older age the arteries harden and get stiff. This forces the heart to pump blood harder as a result of which the blood pressure elevates.

However, the risk of high cholesterol mostly depends on the lifestyle, diet and fitness of the individual.

Taking medication for high cholesterol does not protect you 100%. Statins regulate the amount of cholesterol produced in the liver and hence reduce the overall amount of the cholesterol in the body and cut down the risk of it from depositing in the arteries.

However, if you continue with your previous fat-loaded diet, statins are not going to be of much help.

Soon after someone is diagnosed with heart complications they are advised to switch to boiled foods, with zero oil, spice and sometimes less salt.

While the idea behind such food is to cut down the consumption of oil, completely putting a stop to the consumption of fats can have other adverse effects on the person. It might affect the appetite of a person and can also lead to mood swings.

After the onset of heart problems one should stop consuming saturated fat, partially hydrogenated fat, and trans fat but unsaturated fats like vegetable oils should be eaten. One can also have fatty fish once or twice a week.

First of all, a heart attack should never be measured as minor or major. Irrespective of its magnitude, which is wrong to measure, it needs to be dealt with carefully with proper medical consultation.

A minor heart attack goes unnoticed, but it is a big warning that you already have a heart complication and if left untreated it might develop into something more serious and life threatening.

Diabetes and heart complications follow each other, though to some they seem remote diseases.

There are several risk factors of diabetes which overlap with that of heart diseases. For example, high blood pressure, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and smoking.

While diabetes medication will keep your blood sugar under control and cut down the risk of heart disease, it will not protect you entirely from adverse heart conditions.

Genetic predisposition to heart diseases makes a person prone to cardiovascular events, but that does not mean you can do nothing about it.

Timely medical consultation, engaging in physical activity, reducing smoking, decreasing alcohol consumption, lowering the consumption of processed food and trans fat, eating seasonal vegetables and fruits, and having healthy oil in food improves the heart health of an individual.

This is another myth that relates heart disease with age.

The American Heart Association, recommends testing the blood cholesterol level starting from the age of 20.

It is important to get heart screening done from early 20s.

“For testing the lipid levels in children, it is advised that they have it done once they are 9 years of age. And again, a repeat is suggested between the group of 17 to 20 years of age,” recommends Dr Praveen Kulkarni, senior cardiologist at Global Hospitals Parel, Mumbai.

After the age of 20 one should get the check up done every 5 years.

Survivors share what an oncoming heart attack felt like

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