World Heart Day – the myths and the truth

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WORLD HEART DAY

MORE than 435 Brits lose their lives to cardiovascular disease each day in the UK.

Dr Luke James, Medical Director at BUPA Health Clinics said: “For most people, the heart is something they take for granted every day – it’s an amazing organ which works non-stop for your entire life. So why not make your heart’s job a bit easier?

“To do that, it’s vital to understand what heart disease is. We see patients in our clinics everyday that are unclear of the different types and have misconceptions about their own risk of developing a cardiovascular problem.”

Here are the top myths heard in health clinics up and down the country:

MYTH 1: “I’m a woman… it only affects men, right?”

Heart disease kills the same amount of women as it does men, but women are more likely to develop heart problems later in life. People often perceive cardiovascular disease as something that mainly affects men because high levels of oestrogen in the female body protect them from many heart problems until menopause.

Just like men, smoking, weight gain, high cholesterol and low activity levels throughout life all contribute to the risk of heart disease. We would recommend everyone assesses their risk, but men and women around the age of 45 really do benefit from undertaking a review of their risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

MYTH 2: “I’m ok as none of my family has ever had heart problems.”

We often see patients dismissing the risk of heart disease because there is no family history. While there is no denying the role of hereditary factors, lifestyle also plays an enormous role in developing a cardiovascular condition.

There are great opportunities available for people to really understand their own risk of heart disease, and manage their lifestyles accordingly. A coronary assessment is an obvious option, but even a general health assessment which looks at lifestyle influences is a good place to start.

MYTH 3: “I’ll worry about it later; it’s a problem for elderly people.”

Over a quarter of people who die from cardiovascular disease everyday are under the age of 75. With heart disease being the UK’s single biggest killer, heart health is not something we should be putting off until we’re older.

With a better understanding of heart conditions, it’s clear that the way we live our lives each day, can have a positive effect on our heart’s health.

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