More than 25% of deaths in the United States are linked to heart disease. Unless you were born with a heart defect, heart complications may not be on the radar for you at all until it directly impacts you or a loved one. This article will uncover many common misconceptions about who is at risk for heart disease.

Myth or Fact: Men are more at risk than women

The American Heart Association did a women’s survey and half of the women knew that heart disease was the leading cause of death in women yet 13% still did not see it as a direct threat to them personally. The common misconception is that men, particularly older men, are more at risk for heart disease than women. The fact is, just about the same number of women are affected by heart disease each year as men, and the risk begins to increase much younger than it does in men. Heart disease has no gender bias!

Myth or Fact: Younger people are not at risk for heart disease

20% of people who have a heart attack are 40 and under and this number has increased 2% for 10 years. The unfortunate truth is that if you have a heart, you are at risk for heart disease. Yes, there are those who are born with heart defects or heart problems, but heart disease in young people can develop undetected for years before it shows up in an unpleasant dramatic way such as a heart attack. Heart disease can develop in early childhood and develop silently. It is important not to wait for symptoms to appear but to be proactive about preventative measures and healthy lifestyles to minimize the loss of young people to heart disease. For information on proven preventative measures, see our article: “Tips to getting and staying heart healthy”.

Myth or Fact: Some Ethnic Groups are more at risk than others

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in every ethnic group that has been studied within the United States. According to American Heart Association, the death rate among African Americans is 34% higher than other ethnic groups as a whole. High blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are three of the most common conditions that lead to heart disease. These three conditions are prevalent among African Americans.

Myth or Fact: If heart disease is in your family it cannot be avoided

Family medical history is one of the first steps at any doctors office, particularly at a specialist such as a cardiologist. While you are at a higher risk of heart disease if you have a family history of it, that does not mean it cannot be avoided for you or your children. There are many steps you can take to dramatically reduce your risks. Knowing you have a history of heart disease in your family could actually give you the upper hand by implementing healthy habits early on for you and your future family.

Myth or Fact: Athletes are not at risk for heart disease

Although physical activity is one of the proven preventatives of heart disease, it is not a cure all. No matter how athletic and in shape you are, there are many other factors that contribute to heart disease such as genetics passed down in families, diet, high cholesterol, etc. Exercise and getting in shape, while extremely important, is only one piece of the puzzle.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of heart disease or simply want to get more information on preventative measures, CT Cardio would be happy to sit down with you and get you on the track to becoming (and staying) heart healthy.