Skip to main content UVA Health logo of UVA Health
Healthy Balance

Preventing Heart Disease: Myths vs. Facts

Woman lighting light weights for heart disease prevention
When it comes to keeping your heart healthy, any exercise is better than none.

American Heart Month is here! Now is the time to brush up on your heart smarts. Why? Because the more you know, the better your chances of preventing heart disease and living a healthier life.

Heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. But it’s largely preventable and even reversible in some instances. So it’s never too late to boost your heart IQ and make changes to improve your health.

Myths vs Facts: 3 Common Misconceptions About Heart Disease

It’s now easier than ever to find health information online, but sometimes it’s difficult to decipher fact from fiction. Let’s set the record straight about a few common misconceptions about heart health and start preventing heart disease.

Thirty is too young to worry about heart health.

Myth. The older you get, the greater your risk for heart disease, but there are other risk factors that can take a toll on your heart health when you’re young. Smoking, high blood pressure, unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle can actually make your “heart age” greater than your true age, which means you are at greater risk for heart disease and stroke.

Any movement is better than no movement.

Boost Your Heart IQ

Need help to get motivated? Learn more about heart disease plus healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle tips.

Fact. Being sedentary is one of the key risk factors for heart disease — even if you’re not overweight. The latest physical activity guidelines stress that even short bursts of activity are better than nothing, and they add up over the course of the day. The goal is to achieve 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week in addition to doing muscle-strengthening exercises two days each week.

The only way to eat heart-healthy is to diet.

Myth. Some diets are actually not good for your heart. For example, eliminating carbs may help you shed pounds initially, but it’s not sustainable for most people. Plus, you’re likely to increase your intake of other foods like proteins that may be higher in fat. Your best bet is to find a good balance of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and whole grains.


Reply & View Comments Search Submit

Subscribe for Updates

Get stories & health tips every week