Quantcast
Latest Stories

Heart to Heart Talk

Myths about heart disease

By

Sex is bad for the heart

On the contrary, sex is good for the heart. The morphine-like opiates and other feel-good hormones our own body secretes during sex or during any happy activities or thought processes we have, the physical exercise during sex, and the healthy outlet it provides both partners, actually benefit the heart. Only those with untreated coronary artery disease or heart failure could get into trouble during sex. With proper treatment and medical guidance, these patients can indulge in sex safely. Heart attack is a treacherous enemy. It must be detected and treated before it strikes. This is why medical consultation is important among men or women over 40 years old, or among the younger ones who have symptoms or concerns about their health.

Heart disease is inherited

Rarely, certain congenital (inborn) structural defect of the heart may be genetic, but in general, we cannot blame our ancestry for the heart diseases that are very common today, like coronary artery disease (cause of heart attacks), or heart valve diseases (due to Rheumatic Fever). Although some families seem to be more prone to heart attacks, and the traits could be a part of the genes, the important causative factors in this situation are mostly not heredity but environmental—the lifestyle of the family members. These significant etiologic factors include smoking, eating red meats, eggs and other high cholesterol foods, lack of exercise, obesity, unmanaged stress, hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol blood level), untreated hypertension, diabetes mellitus (especially the poorly controlled ones).

Children of heart attack victims will have the same fate

This is not true. Even if both parents had heart attacks or coronary artery disease, their children are not necessarily condemned to same fate, provided the children live a healthier lifestyle, unlike their parents. If these children stay on low cholesterol diet, eat fish (instead of red meat), a lot of vegetables, fruits, and high fiber foods, do not smoke, exercise for 30 minutes a day at least 5 times a week, maintain a normal weight, know how to relax and manage stress, they can escape significant coronary artery disease.

Women rarely have heart disease

Wrong. As one of the old cigarette commercials stated “You’ve come a long way, Baby.” Since today’s modern women have entered the “men’s world,” working, smoking, drinking, competing, hustling like men, they have indeed “come a long way,” approximating men in most respects, even in the incidence of coronary artery disease and heart attacks among them. Young women as a rule have greater resistance to coronary artery disease because of the protective effects of the female sex hormone called estrogen. However, women with unhealthy lifestyle negate the benefits of estrogen and suffer heart disease like men. The 2 to 1 (male to female) vulnerability has been narrowing the past three decades.

Executives are prime victims of heart attacks

Not so. We used to believe that top job responsibility and stressful executive positions led to higher incidence of heart attacks. Recent studies have proven this to be a fallacy. In a study, bartenders were found to be more vulnerable to heart attacks than barbers, and barbers more prone than physicians. In another series, blue-collar workers were found to be more susceptible to heart attacks than  supervisory personnel and executives. It is obvious that lifestyle, and not the line of work, position or rank, is more of the determinant factor in heart attacks.

Persons younger than 40 do not get heart disease

Another myth. The youngest patient we did coronary bypass surgery on in Indiana, U.S.A., was a 28-year-old diabetic Caucasian female, who had very high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and a cigarette smoker. At Cebu Cardiovascular Center in Cebu City, the youngest heart bypass patient we had was a 34-year-old man. Coronary artery disease does not respect any age, gender, or any person who abuses himself/herself with an unhealthy lifestyle.

Exercise damages the heart

Definitely does not. The heart can take a lot more challenges than one can imagine. It is one of the strongest muscular organs in the human body. Exercise has beneficial effects on the heart. Even heart attack patients who have recovered from the acute phase are prescribed an exercise regimen. Exercise dilates (opens wider) coronary arteries that supply the heart muscles with oxygen and nutrition. The benefits conferred by regular moderate exercise are “cumulative and lasting.” If in doubt about your fitness to do exercises, consult your physician.

Heart attack victims should be sedentary

Nothing is farther from the truth. Heart attack patients who have recovered should resume normal activities as prescribed by their physicians. It is most essential for these people to be active again as soon as they are medically allowed to. A sedentary life for these patients would only lead to deterioration of the heart and to vegetation. Those who bounce back to as normal a life as possible following a heart attack will fare much better physically and mentally than those who resign themselves to invalidism.

Longevity is shortened by heart bypass

This is another myth. Coronary bypass surgery, not only improves the quality of life by eliminating chest pains but also increases the life span of patients, whose life will otherwise be reduced by heart attack. More and more clinical studies are showing this to be the case.

Heart bypass patients are unable to work

Wrong. One of the goals of coronary bypass surgery is to allow the patient to go back to the main stream of society. After adequate recovery, patients who were working prior to surgery can usually go back to their original job, with some initial restrictions. Very rarely are post-bypass patients unable to resume previous work activities. These exceptions are among those with severe and neglected coronary artery disease where the heart muscles have already been damaged before the patients agreed to have bypass surgery.

Red meats and eggs are good for children

A dangerous myth! High cholesterol diet is bad for children as it is unhealthy for adults. It has been shown on autopsies performed on children (victims of various accidents and illnesses) ages 4 to 6 that the inner walls of their arteries were already lined with a thin layer of cholesterol plaques (fatty deposits). Therefore, it is clear that hardening of the arteries starts even earlier than that tender age. Since red meats (like pork and beef and anything made of them) and eggs (particularly the yolk) are high in cholesterol, these foods are actually detrimental to children and to all of us. Red meat is not essential to life; we can live–and be healthier–not eating red meat.

For a holiday gift of health, please visit philipSchua.com

Email: scalpelpen@gmail.com


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Health , heart bypass , Heart disease , myths




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement