Heart disease, a global health concern, continues to be a leading cause of mortality. Accurate information and awareness are vital in the battle against this silent killer. Dr. Sameer Mehrotra, a seasoned cardiologist and Unit Chief in Interventional Cardiology & Electrophysiology at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, is on a mission to debunk the myths that shroud heart diseases, equipping individuals with the knowledge they need to make informed choices about their heart health.
Myth 1: Only Older Adults Are at Risk
One of the most pervasive myths is the belief that heart disease primarily afflicts older adults. While age is indeed a risk factor, heart disease doesn’t discriminate by age. Lifestyle choices, genetics, and underlying health conditions can all contribute to heart issues, even in younger individuals. Hence, Dr. Mehrotra emphasizes that everyone, regardless of age, should prioritize heart-healthy habits.
Myth 2: Heart Disease Only Affects Men
Another misconception is the belief that heart disease is exclusive to men. In reality, it’s a leading cause of death among women as well. What complicates matters is that the symptoms may vary between genders, leading to potential misdiagnoses. Therefore, it’s imperative for both men and women to be vigilant about their heart health and seek medical attention if they experience unusual symptoms.
Myth 3: Chest Pain Is the Only Warning Sign
While chest pain or discomfort is a classic symptom, it’s not the sole indicator of heart trouble. Dr. Mehrotra points out that there are various warning signs, including shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, lightheadedness, and pain in the neck, jaw, or back. Recognizing these diverse symptoms can lead to early detection and timely intervention.
Myth 4: A Healthy Weight Equals a Healthy Heart
Maintaining a healthy weight is undoubtedly crucial for heart health, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Factors like diet, physical activity, and genetics also play significant roles. Dr. Mehrotra emphasizes that even individuals within a healthy weight range can face heart issues if they don’t adopt a heart-friendly lifestyle.
Myth 5: Heart Disease Is Inevitable for Those with a Family History
Having a family history of heart disease does elevate your risk, but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll develop it. Dr. Mehrotra stresses that a family history should serve as a motivation to embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle and undergo regular check-ups to detect and manage risk factors early.
Myth 6: Heart Disease Is Irreversible
Medical advancements in cardiology have transformed the landscape, making it possible to manage and even reverse heart disease in many cases. Lifestyle changes, medications, and interventions like angioplasty and stent placement can significantly improve heart health. Early detection and prompt treatment are pivotal to achieving positive outcomes.
Myth 7: Medication Alone Can Cure Heart Disease
Medications are valuable tools in managing heart conditions, but they are rarely standalone cures. They are typically used in conjunction with lifestyle changes to control risk factors and prevent further damage. Dr. Mehrotra emphasizes the importance of following your cardiologist’s guidance regarding medication use.
By dispelling these myths and promoting accurate heart health information, Dr. Sameer Mehrotra empowers individuals to take proactive steps in safeguarding their cardiovascular well-being. Regular check-ups, a heart-healthy diet, exercise, and stress management are all integral components of a heart-protective lifestyle. Remember, knowledge is the first step toward a healthier heart.