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Your heart health is a crucial part of maintaining your overall well being.  Heart disease, also referred to as “the silent killer,” is a leading cause of death among Americans as many individuals suffer from high blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease without knowing.  Additionally, there is a general lack of factual knowledge about the cardiovascular system, heart disease, and some of it’s causing factors. Here are a few myths about heart disease that individuals of all ages should know:

Too Young to be Affected
It isn’t uncommon for young people to underestimate the seriousness of heart disease and many of it’s causing factors.  Heart disease is often associated with old age and poor health; however, young and middle-aged individuals can be affected as well.  According to The American Heart Association, one in three Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease and not all of them are elderly; in fact, plaque can start accumulating in the arteries from as early as childhood and adolescent years.  The way you live in your younger years can very well impact your risk of developing heart disease in the future. Also, having a parent or sibling who had heart disease at a young can increase your risk of developing disease earlier in life.

Heart Disease Means Minimal Activity
Another common, but inaccurate myth surrounding heart disease is to avoid physical activity or exercise, particularly after a heart attack.  Contrary to what many may think, for a large majority of people suffering from heart disease, taking it too “easy” could lead to more bad than good.  Physical activity helps strengthen the heart and improve blood flow.  In many cases, your doctor will provide you with a plan to stay active and participate in a regular physical activity.  The American Heart Association recommends at least two and a half hours of physical activity each week to maintain cardiovascular health.
The Warning Signs are Clear
Factors that can contribute to heart disease, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, can often be present without showing noticeable symptoms; don’t wait for your body to tell you something is wrong.  Make your regular check ups with your doctor, and be aware of your prior and family medical history. Treating high blood pressure early is critical to your future heart health; if left untreated, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening issues.

Heart Failure and Cardiac Arrest are the Same
Many people confuse the terms of heart failure and cardiac arrest as having the same meaning.  When the heart suddenly stops beating, it is considered to be in cardiac arrest, causing an individual to stop breathing and lose consciousness.  Heart failure, on the other hand, is when the heart is still working, but not as well as it should; this can ultimately cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, persistent coughing or wheezing, and potentially lead to cardiac arrest.