MYTH 1: If you have heart disease, you need to take it easy. For the vast majority of people with heart disease, being sedentary is a bad idea. Physical activity helps strengthen the heart muscle. Just partner with your physician for the best exercise regimen.
MYTH 2: It’s okay to have higher blood pressure when you’re older. Blood pressure tends to rise with age, but the fact that this trend is “normal” doesn’t mean that it is good for you. It happens because artery walls become stiff with age. Have your blood pressure checked regularly. If it’s above 140/90 millimeters of mercury, ask your doctor what you can do to bring it down.
MYTH 3: Diabetes won’t cause heart disease if you take diabetes medication. Diabetes medication helps lower blood sugar levels. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is important for preventing complications that may result in kidney disease, loss of vision, erectile dysfunction, and nerve damage. But blood sugar control has less effect on the large blood vessels that increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
MYTH 4: If you have smoked for years, you can’t reduce your risk of heart disease by quitting. The benefits of quitting smoking start the minute you quit, no matter your age, how long you have smoked, or how many cigarettes a day you have smoked. Only one year after quitting, your heart attack risk will have dropped by 50%; in 10 years, it will be the same as if you never smoked.
MYTH 5: A small heart attack is no big deal. A small heart attack isn’t a big deal in terms of how well your heart can function. It may even pass unnoticed. But it’s a huge warning sign that you have serious heart disease. Minimize your risk of heart attack by keeping your weight and blood pressure in a normal range and not smoking,
MYTH 6: Angioplasty and stenting or bypass surgery “fixes” your heart. Angioplasty and bypass surgery can do wonders for relieving chest pain (angina) and improving quality of life. But they don’t stop the underlying disease—atherosclerosis. Without correcting the problems that contribute to atherosclerosis, arteries will continue to become clogged with fatty plaque, which may mean the return of angina.
As we reflect on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, we are reminded that he engaged steadfastly in service, spiritual self-care, and stewardship. Stewardship also means taking care of your temple.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.