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NEWS | Feb. 12, 2013

Seven deadly myths of heart disease

By Health Net Federal Services TRICARE

February is Heart Health Month and Health Net Federal Services wants to help all Service members in the TRICARE North Region maintain a healthy heart.

Heart disease claims approximately 600,000 lives each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the disease responsible for one out of every four deaths in the United States, it is the most common killer of both men and women.

Saving lives involves fighting misconceptions. Here are some common myths about heart disease:
  1. All those who suffer from heart disease have obvious symptoms. A person can be thin and in good shape yet still have high cholesterol. High blood pressure is generally silent. By the time you experience symptoms from high cholesterol or high blood pressure, it may be difficult to reverse the damage already done to the heart.
  2. Younger women aren't at risk. Not all women who have heart disease are elderly. Risk factors like obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure) and Type II diabetes are showing up earlier now in women.
  3. Exercise is too risky for those who have heart disease. Exercise reduces the progression of heart disease and makes those who have it less likely to have a first or recurrent heart attack.
  4. Those who suffer from heart disease can't undo the damage. Research shows you may be able to undo the damage by including lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular exercise.
  5. Every heart attack victim experiences chest pain. About one out of every three people who have a heart attack doesn't feel chest pain.
  6. Men are the vast majority of heart attack victims. Women are especially vulnerable. Women also experience subtle, less-traditional heart attack symptoms like fatigue and sleep disturbance more commonly than men.
  7. Cancer and AIDS are much deadlier diseases. More people die of heart disease than AIDS and all cancers combined.
Learn what you can do to keep a healthy heart by visiting the Heart Health Awareness campaign page running throughout the month of February at