Myths About Stroke And Heart Attack

Myths about stroke and heart attack have been around for multiple generations.  Even with cutting edge research and documented success, those misconceptions still abound.   This page is dedicated to dispelling those myths.  Too often it seems the idea that, "It can't happen to me," leads to the family gathering to ask how this could happen? 

In previous pages under the cardiovascular system button we've given you symptoms, causes and possible ways to avoid or reverse these health challenges.  Now we'll attempt to clear up the misconceptions about who cannot be stricken.

Dispelling Dangerous Myths

Six Common Myths About Stroke And Heart Attack

Here are the half dozen most dangerous of those myths about stroke and heart attack and an attempt to provide some more accurate information.

1.)  Only Elderly People Suffer Stroke or Heart Attack.  

The danger zone ages for both men and women have been lowering for years.  For men that age is down to about 45 and for women it goes down to the mid 50's.  As we've reported to you in other heart health pages, using tobacco, obesity, diabetes, inactivity, and stress are factors that can add to the risk at any age.  The myth about stroke and heart attack only hitting the elderly is completely false.

The good news is that those risk factors can be eliminated.  Type 2 diabetes used to be nearly always a condition that affected adults over 40.  But due to American diets loaded with unhealthy empty carbs and excess sugar, obesity is occurring in much younger people.  This leads to earlier instances of Type 2 diabetes.  Which leads to heart attacks victimizing much younger people.  Hmmm?  How could we fix those numbers? 

The same lowering age factor holds for stroke.  It used to be that one in eight stroke victims were between age 20 and 55.  Now that number is between one and five.  The page on symptoms before a stroke tells you what to look for and how to react.  This page is about avoiding it.

2.)  High Stress and Anger Won't  Hurt You.

That was me.  Over and over.  This myth about stroke and heart attack is so wrong.  Stress and anger are like pouring gas on a smoldering flame.  Our body releases a hormone that juices up our "fight or flight" response.  This raises blood pressure, constricts blood vessels, and speeds up pulse rate.  And also can easily lead to blood clots. 

There have been numerous studies done that prove without any doubt that all stress including the kind that you keep bottled up inside you raises the risk of heart attack or stroke.  This one is like smoking.  There is no doubt.  It is just fact.  And as with the first myth, if you toss in those other risk factors on top of stress, you are a prime candidate for stroke or heart attack.

Relaxation techniques are vital to counteracting the stress in your life.  Hobbies, a great dog to take on walks, exercise, or someone who will listen to you vent are all starting points.  If your job is causing so much stress that even relaxation is impossible, get another job.  You are smart.  You'll find something better.  You must be smart.  You're seeking information to solve a challenge.

In the page directory in the left margin, you'll find a block of pages completely dedicated to stress relief.

3.)  Only Men Get Heart Attacks or Stroke. 

Actually, heart attacks kill more women than all cancers combined.  Twice as many in fact!  You read that correctly.  All cancers combined.  For  so many years even large numbers of doctors subscribed to this myth about stroke and heart attack.  You can learn more about this in the page about heart attack symptoms in women.

While most women are aware of the need to be vigilant concerning checking for breast cancer, sadly many don't recognize the signs of stroke or heart attack or don't learn the lesson about denial in time.  Over 90 percent of heart attack victims survive if they are alive when they reach the hospital.

4.)  Blood Pressure Will Always Go Up When We Get Older

While that may be true, it doesn't have to be.  A major reason that blood pressure goes up with age is that too often weight goes up too.  It is pretty amazing that all these conditions can be traced back to diet and exercise.  And not smoking.  Check out the page on causes of high blood pressure for more on this topic.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall, author of "Fix It" suggests that even many doctors cling to this myth.  He states, "  I know of eminent cardiologists who take blood pressure medication without question, fully believing that because they are older,they can't do anything about it.  What kind of example does this set for patients."  What kind indeed?

He doesn't imply that no one needs blood pressure medications.  But maybe with better health habits, you don't need them forever.  Maybe not at all if you plan properly.

5.)  An Older Heart Needs More Rest

Actually your body needs more exercise as you get older.  It isn't as easy as when you were are kid, but that just further validates the point.   This myth is already dying a quicker death.  Heart patients are often advised to get up and move as soon as possible.  Our bodies were designed to be in motion, not parked in front of a television.   

A study from just last year concluded that those who sit for eight hours per day have a 15 percent greater risk of death within 3 years as opposed to those who only sit around for four hours per day.   I wonder how much better turning off the TV after two hours would work? 

In our page about Alzheimer's research, the same idea was presented.  Moving can reduce heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases.  Lets all get moving.  Regardless of age.  In fact, the older we get, the more we need to get moving.  Use it or lose it!

6.)  Surgery Can Fix Anything

Surgery can provide specific improvements.  Stents can open narrowing vessels.  But the original cause of atherosclerosis is still there.  The same would be true for other heart or stroke related surgery.  The immediate danger can be corrected.  But here we go again.  It still comes back to the hard part.  Surgery is not a final cure.  Just another myth about stroke and heart attack.

After the surgery comes the recurring theme of these cardio pages.  More fruits and vegetables in your diet.  Eliminate the three white poisons.  Exercise and lose weight.

In this link you'll find some more information from the American Heart Association about the myths associated with the heart.

When We Hear Something Long Enough We Start To Believe It

Myths are like legends.  They grow as they get passed down.  The truth kind of disappears over time.  But these six myths about stroke and heart attack are just that.  Myths.  You know what needs to be done.  It is in the best interest of your heart and brain.

In our list of classic books, located in the left margin of every page, you'll find some tremendous information to help you avoid the circumstances that put you in immediate health danger.  The authors are experts in their particular field.

Now you can be an example well into your eight or ninth decade to all those younger kids growing up  Example isn't everything.  It is the only thing.

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Just below is a quote from "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson.  The chapter title is "Open Your Heart To Compassion." 

"Every day we are given hundreds of opportunities to practice compassion in action.  We can learn to be less reactive and live with more patience.

We can smile when others are serious.  We can drive our cars more carefully, pick up litter on the streets, recycle, and reduce our consumption.

We can resolve conflicts rather than create them, and we can become less judgemental and more inclusive.  When someone is aggressive, we can teach them to be more peaceful.  Instead of waiting for an example, we can be the example.

The more compassion that enters your heart, the happier and more peaceful you will become.  By knowing that you are doing your part to create a better world-whatever form that takes-you will fill any void that exists in your life, and you will begin to find the peace you are looking for."

What's New?

Just below is an article from Peter Schiff about passing the buck from one administration to the next.

Owning The Bubble

Just below is a link to look up your congressional representatives.   Let them know you expect accountability.

Congressional Representative Look Up