There are many myths about heart disease. Here are eight of the most common ones:
- Myth: Heart disease is a man’s disease.
In general, cardiovascular disease is more common in men than women. However, as more women adopt unhealthy lifestyles (fast food diets, smoking and sedentary lifestyle), we are beginning to see more women suffer heart attacks and strokes.
- Myth: Women with heart disease present the same symptoms as men.
Women with heart disease often present different symptoms than men. Many women with heart disease do not experience chest pain. They may instead complain of indigestion, sweating and breathlessness.
- Myth: If you have a healthy diet and don’t smoke, you don’t need to worry about heart disease.
While a healthy diet and quitting smoking are important steps in reducing your risk of heart disease, they are not the only things you need to worry about. Other factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol also increase your risk.
- Myth: If you have heart disease, there’s nothing you can do but take medication and hope for the best.
While medications are an important part of treating heart disease, they are not the only thing you can do to improve your health. You can also make lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Myth: If you have had a heart attack, you need to just wait until the next one comes along and it’s time for another round of medication.
While medications are an important part of treating heart disease, they are not the only thing you can do to improve your health (see myth 4).
- Myth: You can tell if someone has heart disease just by looking at them.
There are few visible signs of heart disease. Even overweight or obese people may not necessarily have the disease.
- Myth: Heart attacks always cause severe pain in the chest.
Many people who have heart attacks do not experience any pain. Instead, they may feel short of breath, sweaty or nauseous.
- Myth: If you have a family history of heart disease, you are doomed and there is nothing you can do about it.
While having a family history of heart disease is a risk factor for the disease, it does not mean that you will definitely develop it.
Many of these myths have been based on research from Western populations and may not reflect the situation in Singaporeans at all.