Heart disease is incredibly common in the United States. A third of Americans are currently living with this problem, and this number is only growing. Despite its prevalence, however, many people still have misconceptions about heart disease. Here are some of the major myths that surround this disorder.
Heart Disease is an Old Person’s Disease
Although the risk of heart disease does increase with age, it is becoming more prevalent in younger people than it has been in the past. The reasons for this increase include the epidemic of childhood obesity, type II diabetes occurring at younger ages, and the fact that more people in all age groups than ever are living sedentary lifestyles.
Heart Disease Affects Mostly Men
While it is true that the female hormone, estrogen, provides women some protection from heart disease, this benefit ends when a woman enters menopause. Heart disease is the top killer of women and men over the age of 65. After the age of 80, more women than men have heart disease — 80 percent for men and 87 percent for women.
Quitting Cigarette Smoking Will Not Affect Your Risk of Heart Disease
The lungs are incredibly elastic organs. The risks of heart disease and cancer begin diminishing very soon after a person decides to quit smoking. After just one year of not smoking, your risk for heart disease declines by half. This is true regardless of how long you have been smoking and how many packs you smoked per day.
You Need to Eliminate all Fat From Your Diet
Limiting the amount of unhealthy fat you consume is always a good idea, but not all fats are bad for you. The unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils and sources such as fish are desirable. For instance, salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. If you eat foods like salmon just twice a week, you can reduce your risk of heart disease. It’s also important to recognize that unhealthy fats in moderation aren’t too damaging to your heart health; you just want to be sure to limit your intake and focus on more foods that have healthy or low-fat content.
Heart disease can be a killer. Every year, more people in the United States die from it than from any other cause. Unfortunately, there are many more myths surrounding cardiovascular disease than we have time to list. The best way you can reduce your risk of getting it is to educate yourself and see your doctor for a check-up regularly.