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Monthly Health Observance

Heart Health Myths

Heart Month in February is a good time to review the current primary heart health facts and figures. Some current statistics:

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  1. Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of American men and women.
  2. Each year an estimated 250,000 Americans die within one hour of onset of a heart attack, and 60% to 70% of those individuals are male. Older women who have heart attacks are twice as likely as men to die in a few weeks.
  3. Most heart problems and strokes can be avoided through blood pressure control, a healthy diet, regular physical activity and smoking cessation.

Some key heart health myths to be aware of:

  • Myth: Only men should worry about heart attacks.
    • Fact: 44% of women in the U.S. are living with some form of heart disease, the leading cause of death for women, affecting them at any age.
  • Myth: Heart attacks are purely hereditary.
    • Fact: Only 40% of the risk for heart disease lies in hereditary factors.
  • Myth: Chest pain is the only sign of heart attack.
    • Fact: More subtle symptoms include discomfort in your back, neck, jaw or in one or both of your arms. You may feel lightheaded or short of breath and even nauseated. Take these symptoms seriously and seek medical help immediately.

Remember these heart health goals:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet high in plant foods and fiber — and low saturated fats.
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco, a primary trigger for heart damage. 
  • Stay physically active with 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking, most days.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Manage stress.
  • Get regular health screening tests.

Knowing the difference between fact and fiction may save your life.

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