Over the past ten years or so, we’ve learned a lot about heart health: basically what causes heart attacks and how we can prevent them. However, unless you’re someone who closely follows medical news, you may still have some misconceptions about the risk factors for heart disease.
With this in mind, here are 5 myths about heart disease that you and your loved ones should be aware of:
MYTH 1: While on Statins, You Can Eat Anything You Want
The cholesterol in your bloodstream comes from two different sources: your liver makes some and you also get cholesterol from the foods you eat. Statins work by reducing the amount of cholesterol made in your liver. This in turn causes the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood to drop, which in turn decreases the amount of cholesterol that gets deposited into your arteries.
If you take statins yet continue to eat foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, your cholesterol levels will not fall and may even rise if you go hog-wild. The best thing to do is eat a healthy diet so your statin can do its job.
MYTH 2: If You Have Heart Disease, You Should Relax More
Well, in a way.
People with heart disease should certainly find ways to de-stress. Heck, people without heart disease should find ways to de-stress as well, as stress is bad for everyone. But the idea that people with heart disease should “take it easy” as in “not move around much” is not a good idea.
Being sedentary can lead to blood clots in the legs and overall poor physical condition. Physical activity helps strengthen the heart, improves blood flow and overall health and well-being. But, before you begin any exercise program, be sure to speak with your doctor so you know what activity is right for you. Generally speaking, walking is good for the heart and gentle on the rest of the body.
MYTH 3: As Long as You Take Your Diabetes Medication, the Disease Can’t Cause Heart Disease
Diabetes medication works by lowering your blood sugar levels. Controlling blood sugar is important so that you don’t develop complications that affect smaller blood vessels such as vision loss, kidney disease and nerve damage.
However, controlling blood sugar has less of a positive effect on the large blood vessels that become clogged leading to a heart attack or stroke. These vessels benefit more from lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol.
MYTH 4: It’s Normal for Older People to Have High Blood Pressure
That’s like saying, “It’s normal for metal left out in the rain to rust.” You bet metal left out in the rain will rust, but if you protect that metal, it won’t rust.
It may be “normal” for older people to have high blood pressure, but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Remember, the choices you make throughout your life result in the body and health you end up with. An unhealthy lifestyle leads to stiff artery walls which cause the heart to pump harder. This leads to damaged artery walls and a weakened heart. This is the mechanism by which high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
By eating whole foods (not processed junk foods), refraining from smoking, and exercising regularly, you can ensure you keep your blood pressure in the healthy range, even in your Golden years.
MYTH 5: A Small Heart Attack is No Big Deal
Many small heart attacks go unnoticed, and, you technically could say they are “not a big deal” in terms of how well your heart can function. But even a teeny-tiny heart attack can be a warning sign that you have serious heart disease. And, while the first one may have been small, the second one could be deadly.
To minimize your risk of small and big heart attacks, keep your weight in check and your cholesterol and blood pressure down, cut out smoking, eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and veggies, and exercise at least four times a week.
Of course, beyond these things, it’s important to find natural supplementation that promotes heart health as well. Primal Labs is pleased to offer supplements that contain a proprietary blend of safe, natural ingredients in CardioRelax AO™ and Heartzest™. These have been designed to support two critical factors of healthy blood pressure: flexible blood vessels and clear arteries.