Heart Attack Myths Busted

FRESNO, Calif.

Warren Yamarick is an avid runner, and an ER doctor. He thought he was the picture of good health.

"My cholesterol was perfect. My blood pressure was perfect. I don't have diabetes. I don't smoke," Dr. Warren Yamarick, M.D. Emergency Physician Ohio Health, told Ivanhoe.

So when he started having shortness of breath and fatigue, he chalked it up to his busy lifestyle.

"I work too hard. I've been burning the candle at both ends," Dr. Yamarick explained.

But when he went to see his doctor, Dr. Steven Yakubov, tests showed he had an 80% blocked artery that could have led to a major heart attack!

"It was hard for me to believe that a guy in such great shape that takes such good care of himself, with very few risk factors, does have coronary disease," Dr. Steven Yakubov, M.D., told Ivanhoe.

Which leads to our first myth: exercise of any kind reduces your risk of heart attack. Strenuous exercise can lead to heart attack, in high risk individuals. The number one cause of death among marathon runners is heart disease.

Myth number two: chest pain and shortness of breath are the only signs of a heart attack.

"The most common complaint that we get is 'I've been having gastrointestinal problems, or I've been burping or belching,'" explained Dr. Yakubov.

Another myth: high cholesterol is the main cause. What is the reality? About half of people who suffer heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels.

The final myth: if you passed your stress test, you're in the clear. Those exercise stress tests are only about 60% accurate, meaning they miss 40% of problems.

Dr. Yamarick is doing well thanks to a heart stent. The proud dad even participated in a heart walk with his girls.

Another myth that recently circulated on the internet, claimed that if patients are having a heart attack, deep, repeated coughing might save their life by squeezing the heart and helping it regain normal rhythm. Experts say there is no scientific evidence to support this theory, and the best thing to do if you think you are having a heart attack is to call 911.

For More Information, Contact:

Christina J. Fitzer Media Relations Manager OhioHealth (614)566-4517

HEART DISEASE BACKGROUND: Heart and blood vessel disease -- cardiovascular disease also called heart disease -- includes numerous problems, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that develops when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow. This can cause a heart attack or stroke. (Source: www.heart.org)

TYPES OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE:

Heart Attack: A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked by a blood clot. If this clot cuts off the blood flow completely, the part of the heart muscle supplied by that artery begins to die.

Heart Failure: Sometimes referred to as congestive heart failure, means the heart isn't pumping blood as well as it should. The heart keeps working, but the body's need for blood and oxygen isn't being met.

Arrhythmia: This is an abnormal rhythm of the heart; when the heart beats too slowly, too fast or irregularly. An arrhythmia can affect how well the heart works. The heart may not be able to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

Heart valve problems: When heart valves don't open enough to allow the blood to flow through as it should, it's called stenosis. When the heart valves don't close properly and allow blood to leak through, it's called regurgitation. When the valve leaflets bulge or prolapse back into the upper chamber, it's a condition called mitral valve prolapse. When this happens, they may not close properly. This allows blood to flow backward through them. (www.heart.org)

LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS: People harbor wrong notions about heart disease and treatment, which can prove harmful to heart-health. Here are some of the biggest and deadliest heart myths:

Myth #1--Heart disease and heart attacks are an inevitable part of aging. Truth --Your risk of a heart attack does NOT have to increase as you age.

Myth #2--Cholesterol is the leading cause of heart disease and heart attacks. Truth -- Most people who die because of heart disease may have low or normal cholesterol levels.

Myth #3-- Low-fat, low cholesterol diets are good for you and your heart. Truth -- Low-fat, low cholesterol diets are even worse than useless (and so depressing). They can actually harm you.

Myth #4 -- Any exercise is always good for your heart. Truth -- Strenuous exercise can actually increase your risk of heart disease by 10,000%.

Myth #5 -- You should eat less salt. Truth -- Not all people benefit from eating less salt, because eating less salt can also be harmful to your health.

Myth #6--there's no way to avoid a heart attack. Truth -- You can absolutely eliminate any risk of a heart attack for yourself and those you love.

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