7 Myths of Heart Failure

Posted October 10, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read

Over the past decade, we've learned a great deal about what causes heart attacks and how to prevent them. But unless you follow medical news closely, there's a chance you might have misconceptions about the risk factors for heart disease, or heart disease itself.

Myth 1: It’s okay to have higher blood pressure when you’re older.


  • Blood pressure tends to rise with age, but the fact that this trend is normal doesn’t mean that it is good for you.

  • It happens because artery walls become stiff with age. Stiff arteries force the heart to pump harder.

  • This sets up a vicious cycle.

  • Blood pounding against the artery walls damages them over time.

  • The overworked heart muscle becomes less effective and pumps harder to meet the body’s demands for blood.

  • This further damages the arteries and invites fat into the artery walls.

  • This is how high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Myth 2: Diabetes won’t cause heart disease if you take diabetes medication.


  • Diabetes medication helps lower blood sugar levels.

  • Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is important for preventing complications that affect the smaller blood vessels (microvascular complications), such as kidney disease, loss of vision, erectile dysfunction, and nerve damage.

  • But blood sugar control has less effect on the large blood vessels that become inflamed and diseased, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

  • These vessels benefit more from lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

Myth 3: You can lower your risk of heart disease with vitamins and supplements.


  • The antioxidant vitamins E, C, and beta carotene factor into lowering heart disease risk.

  • However, clinical trials of supplementation with these vitamins have either failed to confirm benefit or were conducted in such a way that no conclusion could be drawn.

  • The American Heart Association has stated that there is no scientific evidence to justify using these vitamins to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease.

Myth 4: If you have smoked for years, you can’t reduce your risk of heart disease by quitting.


  • The benefits of quitting smoking start the minute you quit, no matter your age, how long you have smoked, or how many cigarettes a day you have smoked.

  • Only one year after quitting, your heart attack risk will have dropped by 50%; in 10 years, it will be the same as if you never smoked.

Myth 5: If you take a cholesterol-lowering drug, you can eat anything.


  • Cholesterol in the bloodstream comes from two sources—your liver makes some, and you get some from certain foods. Statins reduce the amount of cholesterol made by the liver.

  • This causes blood levels of cholesterol to drop, which, in turn, reduces the amount of cholesterol deposited in your arteries.

  • If you take a statin and continue to eat foods that are high in cholesterol plus saturated fat, the drug will not be as effective, and your cholesterol level will not fall, and may even rise.

Myth 6: If you have heart disease, you need to take it easy.


  • For the vast majority of people with heart disease, being sedentary is a bad idea.

  • It can lead to blood clots in the legs and a decline in overall physical condition.

  • Physical activity helps strengthen the heart muscle, improves blood flow to the brain and internal organs, and improves overall health and well-being.

Myth 7: Heart disease is really a man’s problem.


Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over age 65, just as it’s the leading killer of men.

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