World Heart Day 2021: Cardiologist busts common myths about heart diseases


World Heart Day 2021: Our heart is one of the most important organs as it delivers oxygen and nutrients to our cells and also removes waste products. Any sign of a heart trouble should be taken seriously as it is linked to your longevity and survival. It is important to eat right, exercise, stay away from smoking and alcohol and avoid junk food to avoid getting heart diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels that include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions. More than four out of five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, and one third of these deaths occur prematurely in people under 70 years of age, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

Every year World Heart Day, is celebrated on September 29 to spread awareness around cardiovascular diseases and reduce the global disease burden.

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Heart health has assumed significance in Covid era as there is a rising trend of sudden heart attacks and even people aged between 40-50 are affected by it. Faulty lifestyle, unhealthy diet, heavy smoking, or cardiac history may be contributing towards the rising heart troubles in young people.

It is high time to adopt a healthy lifestyle to make sure our heart does not suffer in any way. Many people feel that heart diseases affect only elderly or those over 50, but the truth is they can strike anytime from childhood to early twenties. On the occasion of World Heart Day 2021, Dr. TS Kler, Chairman, Fortis Heart & Vascular Institute, Gurugram & Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, busts some common myths around heart diseases.

Myth 1: Young people need not to worry about heart diseases. Heart diseases affect people who are more than 50 years of age

Fact: Heart diseases nowadays are not impacted only by the age. They also happen in young adults. As early as childhood and adolescence, plaque can start accumulating in the arteries and later lead to clogged arteries. Obesity, Diabetes Mellitus Type-2 are several factors which can cause heart diseases even in young and middle-aged people.

Myth 2: I am young. I can eat junk food. I don’t need any exercise as I am completely fit.

Fact: Unhealthy food and inactive lifestyle are dangerous for young adults. Youngsters should know that how they live now will definitely affect the risk for cardiovascular diseases later in their life.

Getting diabetes once means you are always at risk of heart diseases.(Pixabay)

Myth 3: I have diabetes but it is under control, so it cannot affect my heart.

Fact: Taking medication of diabetes and keeping it well under control can help reduce risk of cardiac diseases. But getting diabetes once means you are always at increased risk of heart diseases. Simple reason behind that is the risk factors that contribute to diabetes also make a person more likely to develop heart disease. Some common risk factors include high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and smoking.

Myth 4: High cholesterol does not happen in young age. I should at least be middle-aged to get my cholesterol levels checked.

Fact: It is recommended to get your cholesterol checked every 5 years starting at age 20. It’s a good idea to start having a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart disease. Children in these families can have high cholesterol levels, putting them at increased risk for developing heart disease as adults.

Myth 5: I can’t do anything to prevent myself from heart disease, because it is running in my family and we have a long family history of cardiac diseases.

Fact: It is true that people with a family history of heart disease are always at higher risk of developing cardiac problems, but still by choosing a healthy lifestyle they can significantly reduce this risk and prevent themselves from cardiac diseases for life long. Active lifestyle, controlling cholesterol, managed blood pressure, well controlled blood sugar, quitting smoking and maintaining healthy weight are some of the factors that can prevent a person from heart diseases even if he/she has a remarkable family history of cardiovascular diseases.

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