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Quiz: Myths and facts about your heart health

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During a heart attack, your heart stops beating.

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During a heart attack, your heart stops beating.

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During a heart attack, blood supply to heart tissue is blocked, leading to tissue death. When your heart suddenly stops functioning as a result of abnormal heart rhythms, it's called cardiac arrest. A heart attack can cause cardiac arrest, but they are not the same.

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Heart disease kills more men than women.

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Heart disease kills more men than women.

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The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says it is an enduring myth that heart disease affects more men than women. Men tend to develop heart disease earlier in life than women, but after menopause, women catch up. The BHF says coronary heart disease kills nearly than 1 in 10 women and almost 1 in 7 men.

Heart disease is the number two killer of women in the UK.

Heart disease is the number two killer of women in the UK.

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Heart disease is the number 2 cause of death of women in the UK after dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Nearly one in 10 women dies from coronary heart disease. Breast cancer is the seventh highest cause of death among women in the UK.

If you think you're having a heart attack, you should:

If you think you're having a heart attack, you should:

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If you think you're having a heart attack, you should dial 999 immediately, rather than waiting to see if you feel better. The sooner you get to an accident and emergency department for treatment, the better your chance of survival. Ambulance staff are also equipped to treat or resuscitate you if your heart stops on the way there. Studies show early treatment not only minimises heart and brain tissue damage, it can save your life.

Which of the following could be a sign of a heart attack?

Which of the following could be a sign of a heart attack?

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Although the most common sign of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort, it's not always one of the symptoms. Other symptoms might include shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, feeling lightheaded, and/or pain or discomfort in other parts of the upper body, such as the back, stomach, neck or jaw.

Broken heart syndrome is a real medical condition, and its symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack.

Broken heart syndrome is a real medical condition, and its symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack.

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Broken heart syndrome is a term used to describe a type of heart problem that’s often brought on by grief or emotional stress. Traumatic events can trigger the sympathetic nervous system, the 'fight or flight' mechanism, and the sudden flood of chemicals, including adrenaline, can stun the heart muscle, leaving it temporarily unable to pump properly. Although symptoms may be similar, it is not the same as a heart attack. The good news is that the heart muscle usually recovers from this fairly quickly.

After a heart attack, patients are advised to avoid sex for at least three months.

After a heart attack, patients are advised to avoid sex for at least three months.

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A US review of evidence suggests there’s no need to avoid sex after a heart attack. Researchers estimated that fewer than one in every 100 heart attacks is brought on by sex. However it’s important to follow the advice of your doctor, and also to stop and rest if you feel out of breath or experience other symptoms during sex. As always, seek medical advice if you have concerns.

Common risk factors for heart disease in the UK are:

Common risk factors for heart disease in the UK are:

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The NHS says heart disease is usually caused by a build-up of fatty deposits in the walls of the coronary arteries. It says this process - called atherosclerosis – is significantly increased if you smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or do not take regular exercise. Other risk factors include diabetes, being obese or overweight and having a family history of heart disease.

Approximately how many people in the UK have coronary heart disease?

Approximately how many people in the UK have coronary heart disease?

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The British Heart Foundation says there are nearly 2.3 million people in the UK living with coronary heart disease (CHD).

To reduce the risk of heart disease, non-drinkers should begin drinking red wine.

To reduce the risk of heart disease, non-drinkers should begin drinking red wine.

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While some studies have found some heart-health benefits from moderate alcohol drinking, including with red wine, experts say that's not a reason to start drinking. Non-drinkers are not encouraged to begin drinking because of the negative health risks of alcohol, including an increased risk of high blood pressure, obesity and stroke.

What aspirin dosage do doctors advise some people with heart disease to take to help prevent heart attacks?

What aspirin dosage do doctors advise some people with heart disease to take to help prevent heart attacks?

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Doctors may recommend one daily low-dose aspirin for all heart disease patients to help prevent blood clots, which can lead to future heart attacks. In fact, research suggests that if people with a history of heart attacks stop taking aspirin, they are at increased risk of another attack. Don't start taking daily aspirin without a doctor's recommendation though.

A Mediterranean-style diet has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

A Mediterranean-style diet has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

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The Mediterranean diet is linked with heart health. One study in 2013 found that people following this diet based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, cereal grains, olive oil and fish had around a 30% lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

If you're thin, eat healthily and exercise, you won't get heart disease.

If you're thin, eat healthily and exercise, you won't get heart disease.

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A US survey of adults who were told by a doctor that they had heart disease found that 56.6% engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at least three times a week, and 38.6% maintained a healthy body weight. Although a healthy diet and regular exercise can lower your risk of heart disease, you may still be at risk.

You can lower your risk of heart disease by:

You can lower your risk of heart disease by:

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High-salt diets have been linked to increased blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Food Standard Agency guidelines suggest a limit of up to 6g of salt a day.

Vitamin E and folate have both been shown to be important for heart health, but studies have cast doubt on the usefulness of vitamin E supplements. Some researchers say it's premature to recommend folic acid supplements for heart disease. It’s best to get both nutrients from dietary sources.

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