Part 4 of 4 – Heart Health Myths and Real Facts by Dr Harshad Sanghvi
As part of our “Health and Wellness Awareness – Education with a purpose” series, we plan to publish every Saturday in February two Heart Health Myths and real facts to debunk the myths by Dr. Sanghvi, MD, FACC, experienced Cardiologist and ICC’s Lifestyle Program’s Director of Health. Three sets of Myths and real facts were published earlier on February 4th, 11th and 18th)
We hope you will read and reflect on the facts surrounding heart disease and more importantly, act on improving your heart health.
Myth#7 – Bypass surgery and stenting will fix coronary artery disease.
Fact: When coronary artery disease blocks the heart’s arteries, surgeons can use other arteries from the chest (mammary artery) and arm (radial artery), or veins from the legs to bypass the blocked areas (called coronary artery bypass surgery) and restore circulation. Similarly, interventional cardiologists can use the stents to prop open blocked arteries.
“While coronary bypass surgery and coronary stents can help prevent a first or second heart attack, relieve cardiac symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath, and make you feel better, but they don’t cure your coronary artery disease because they don’t correct underlying process of atherosclerosis, and blockages can come back again unless we correct the problems that contributed to the process such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, poor diet, obesity, and lack of exercise by making lifestyle changes including eating a healthy diet, being physically active, not smoking, maintaining healthy weight, taking medications as prescribed, and reducing stress.
Myth#8 – Exercise is dangerous if I already have heart disease or after having a heart attack.
Fact: 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. After a heart attack, you should get moving as soon as possible with a plan approved by your physician which may include a cardiac rehabilitation program. Physical activity helps strengthen the heart muscle, improves blood flow to the brain and internal organs, and improves overall health and mental well-being. Research shows that heart attack survivors who are regularly physically active live longer than those who don’t.
People with chronic conditions typically find that moderate-intensity activity is safe and beneficial. The American Heart Association recommends at least two and a half hours of moderate intensity physical activity each week for overall cardiovascular health. Exercise has countless health benefits including modifying your cardiac risk profile favorably by improving high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, lowering body weight, and long term prognosis after having developed heart disease.
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