Myth vs. truth about preventing heart disease

AnAppleADayRebrand2By Lorrie Terry, Western Baptist dietitian

Heart disease is responsible for approximately 25 percent of deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Behavior and lifestyle choices, including smoking and eating fast food at least twice a week, increase your risk of developing heart disease.

Oftentimes, people research their symptoms and risk factors on the Internet, but the information may not be reliable. The February issue of “Today’s Dietitian” shared the following myths vs. facts concerning heart disease:

Myth 1: Everyone experiences the same heart attack symptoms.

Fact: Men and women can experience different symptoms of a heart attack. Most often the feeling of a crushing sensation and radiation to the arm is common. However, women may experience more subtle type of symptoms or signs, such as jaw aches, nausea, vomiting, breathlessness and decreased energy.

Myth 2: Chocolate is good for your heart.

Fact: Not all chocolate is created equally. A Swedish study found small quantities of dark chocolate helped improved blood pressure control. Why? Dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of flavonoids to benefit heart and vascular benefits. The key is SMALL amounts. The saturated fats can outweigh the benefits, if you overindulge. Eating a variety of heart healthy foods, such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains, is beneficial for heart health and can be low in calories.

Myth 3: Eggs can be eaten with abandon.

Fact: The opinion on the consumption of eggs has varied over the years. Overall, experts continue to agree egg whites are very healthy. A whole egg with the yolk contains more cholesterol because of the cholesterol in the yellow or yolk of an egg. The American Heart Association recommends that anyone wishing to lower their LDL cholesterol or overall heart disease risk should limit cholesterol intake to 200 mg, and just one egg contains more than this.

Myth 4: Only a regular, strenuous exercise program will improve heart health.

Fact: Consistent, regular exercise is beneficial. Spending just 15 minutes of walking is better than not doing any exercise at all. Walking, jogging, biking and swimming are very important for heart disease patients because it strengthens the heart and lowers the amount of work the heart has to do.

Myth 5: Heart Disease is in my genes, so I can’t prevent it.

Fact: Family history does increase your risk of having to deal with a heart disease issue sometime in your future. Your risk of heart attack and stroke can be decreased if you focus on risk factors earlier than later in life.

The facts:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Limit salt and alcohol
  • Avoid tobacco and tobacco products
  • Exercise consistently
  • Control stress

Send us your health and nutrition questions, and our team of dietitians will answer them in an upcoming blog.

About Baptist Health Paducah

Baptist Health Paducah is a regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states. With more than 1,800 employees and 200 physicians, it offers a full range of services, including cardiac and cancer care, diagnostic imaging, women’s and children’s services, surgery, emergency treatment, rehabilitation and more. Since its humble beginning in 1953, Baptist Health Paducah has grown from 117 beds to 349 beds on a campus covering eight square blocks.
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One Response to Myth vs. truth about preventing heart disease

  1. Trista says:

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!

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