Are Americans misinformed about their heart health?
Although heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association, a recent survey found that many Americans are misled about heart health information.
The survey, conducted by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, showed that Americans are not educated fully about heart disease prevention and symptoms, and nearly one-third of them don’t take preventive steps.
Although nearly 600,000 people die each year from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, results showed that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed do not stress about the potential of dying from heart disease.
“Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in this country, so it’s disappointing to see that so many Americans are unaware of the severity of not taking action to prevent heart disease,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic, in a statement. “This is a disease that can largely be prevented and managed, but you have to be educated about how to do so.”
With a plethora of information about heart health on the web, the survey found that the following were some of the top heart topics that people don’t understand:
- Fish oil is linked to many health benefits, but experts advise that the daily recommended dose is not a sufficient practice for prevention.
- Studies show vitamins have almost no effect on heart health.
- American don’t understand where sodium comes from in their daily diet.
- There is no heart disease gene, but family history is an important known risk factor to take into account.
“There is no single way to prevent heart disease, given that every person is different,” Nissen said. However, he recommends five things everyone should learn when it comes to heart health: eating right, exercising regularly, knowing cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index numbers, avoiding tobacco, and knowing family history.
According to Nissen, “Taking these steps can help lead to a healthier heart and a longer, more vibrant life.”
To learn more about your heart health, visit iheartadvocate.com and take an online risk assessment to learn your risk for heart disease. If you are determined to be at the highest-risk level, an Advocate Health Care cardiologist will meet with you within 24 hours.
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About the Author
Nate Rattner, health enews contributor, is an editorial and web services intern with Advocate Health Care. He is a senior at Northwestern University and will be spending the winter with Advocate as part of the school’s Journalism Residency program. Originally from New York, Nate now lives in Evanston. In his free time, you can find him reading and writing, hanging out in a coffee shop or looking for a pick-up basketball game at the gym.