Think you know about heart disease? These common misconceptions will make you think again
Coronary heart disease is responsible for the deaths of one in ten men, making it the UK’s biggest killer, according to the British Heart Foundation. But that doesn’t mean that a heart attack is on the horizon. Experts suggest that there are ways we can avoid this epidemic. Dr Luke James, Medical Director, Bupa Health Clinics comments: “There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of developing poor heart health including lack of exercise, stress, high blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking. However, there’s a lot we can do to protect ourselves against these risks in just a few simple steps.
Misperception 1: “I’m fit and healthy, I’ll be ok”
“There are some reports that suggest men can inherit a form of heart disease from their fathers via the Y chromosome, and though this affects just one in five British men. This is an example of why it’s good to know what’s happening on the inside and not necessarily just judge your health based on your fitness levels and how you look. It’s important to know your blood pressure, your cholesterol and have your cardiovascular risk calculated (QRisk). This is a straightforward test to do so speak to your GP, or pop into one of our clinics for a GP appointment or health assessment.
Misperception 2: “I’ll worry about it later, it’s something older guys deal with.”
“Coronary Heart Disease is the single most common cause of death for men aged 65 and under – so it’s important to get into a good health and fitness routine in your younger years to protect yourself when you’re older. My advice would be, it’s never too late to start. Making some healthy adjustments can help even if you already have a condition affecting your heart.”
Misperception 3: “I’m ok as none of my family have ever had heart problems.”
“We often see patients dismissing the risk of heart disease because there is no family history. Yes, genetics play a role, but how you live your life also plays an enormous part in safeguarding against ill heart health further down the line.
“There are plenty of ways people can learn about their own risk, and manage their lifestyles accordingly. A coronary assessment is an obvious option, but even a general health assessment which looks at lifestyle influences is a good place to start. Regularly checking cholesterol levels and blood pressure are also great ways to keep on top of your heart health, whether you have a family history or not.”
Alongside looking after your body, it’s important to let the professionals take a look at your ticker every now and then. Book yourself a health assessment with Bupa today.