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Heart Health Center

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6 Risky Heart Health Myths

Believing these myths could put your cardiovascular health in danger.

Heart Myth #4: Exercise is too risky if you have heart disease.

This is almost always false.

After a coronary event, such as a heart attack, people are typically encouraged to get right into rehabilitation and start working out within a two-week period.

"There are really very few people who have significant long-term restrictions in terms of never doing exercise," Jackson says.

Redberg says exercise reduces the progression of heart disease, and makes people with heart disease less likely to have a first or recurrent heart attack.

She recommends starting with 10 minutes of exercise daily and increasing it weekly by 10 minutes until they are getting at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days. But your doctor should give you guidelines tailored to your particular case.

Heart Myth #5: Aspirin and Omega-3 fatty Acids Are All Good

Most people have heard that aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids are good deterrents to heart disease. For the most part, this is true, but there are some caveats to their protective benefits.

Redberg recommends taking aspirin for prevention at age 50 for men and 65 for women if there are no contraindications.

Aspirin can exacerbate stomach problems and some people can have aspirin allergies. Every supplement and medication has pros and cons, Jackson says. A young woman’s risk of excessive bleeding from taking aspirin may be greater than its potential heart benefits, Jackson says.

Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for people who have already had a heart issue and are trying to prevent another, Jackson says. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week or taking up to three grams of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of a daily supplement. The AHA cautions that higher doses can cause excessive bleeding in some people.

Aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids both can cut the risk of blood clots, such as those that lead to heart attacks. But you don't want to curb your clotting ability too much, or you could be at risk of excessive bleeding.

Talk with your doctor before taking any kind of medication or supplement. And if you're already taking something, tell your doctor. Your doctor needs to note it in your medical records and may advise you to stop if you have surgery scheduled.

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