When it comes to your heart, never make assumptions.
It is fact that your heart beats about 100,000 times per day, that your body has about 6 quarts of blood in it, and that there are four chambers with four valves that open and close in careful synchrony. However there are several myths about the heart you should know about.
1) Heart disease doesn’t happen until I am older – False! In fact, heart disease can start as early as childhood especially with obesity and poor diets. There are children on blood pressure and cholesterol medications.
2) Really low blood pressure is healthy – not necessarily! Too low and you can’t pump those 6 quarts of blood effectively leading to fatigue, fainting, and dizziness.
3) All heart attacks start with chest pain that radiates down the left arm – False! Women often have atypical symptoms such as sudden fatigue, jaw pain, and nausea. Not everyone experiences a sensation in their chest.
4) Heart disease is the bigger killer of men – Not true! Heart disease is the number one killer of women (not breast cancer!)
5) Smoking only ruins the lungs – not the heart – False! Smoking puts a major strain on your entire cardiovascular system leading to heart problems.
6) Starting a cholesterol-lowering drug means you do not have to change your diet – No way! Medications are only a part of it, the rest is up to you and that absolutely includes a healthy diet.
7) Stroke and heart attack mean the same thing – Wrong! A stroke is caused from decreased blood flow to the brain, while a heart attack is decreased blood flow to the actual heart muscle.
8) All chest pain is a heart attack – False! Although chest pain isn’t something to be taken lightly, other conditions such as anxiety, heartburn, lung conditions, and musculoskeletal conditions cause chest pain as well.
9) The heart is on the left side of your chest – Sort of. Your heart is more mid-line in your chest with a piece of it leaning towards the left.
10) Cholesterol is evil – Wrong! Cholesterol is necessary for all of your cells to keep them from becoming too rigid and stiff. It helps to protect your nerves by insulating them.