Health: Believing myths is bad for your heart

George Orwell, the English journalist, wrote, “Myths that are believed in tend to become true.” Today cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer. Yet there are still myths about this disease which can be dangerous to your health and longevity.

I don’t have high blood pressure because it’s only high when it’s taken by my doctor. You may be right. Some people do have what’s called, “White Coat Hypertension” due to anxiety when a doctor takes the blood pressure. But you may also be wrong. Studies show that in your home you may still be having spikes of increased blood pressure, a prelude to hypertension. Having blood pressure taken by a nurse may show a lower reading. But if in doubt, purchase an electronic cuff and check the pressure several times a day in a home setting to determine if it remains elevated. But remember, never change or stop medication without your doctor’s advice.

Cancer kills more people than heart disease. It ain’t so. Cardiovascular disease kills nearly twice as many people as all forms of cancer combined.

Bed rest is needed following a coronary attack. This used to be the advice given to patients. Now we know that prolonged bed rest can have a negative effect on muscles. So, today coronary patients are advised to get out of bed in a few days.

It’s possible for CPR to re-establish the heart’s normal rhythm after a sudden cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, this happens in Hollywood, but not so easily in the real world. Of course, you may get lucky, but cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is usually not sufficient to restart the heart. In the real world, electric defibrillators are needed to get the heart beating with a normal rhythm.

When a good Samaritan is not around if heart suddenly stops beating, I’ve read that it’s possible to re-start the heart by very vigorous coughing. I’ve also read this fact and been skeptical it would work. But according to several respected sources, the publication “Health Advisor” and the Cleveland Clinic both wonder how this myth got started. So does the American Heart Association. They all say this information is unreliable and that patients may be unconscious and unable to cough. Besides, they say, if a patient is well enough to cough they should call 911. Good advice!

High doses of antioxidant vitamins can’t protect your heart.Respected authorities report that recent studies show that “megadoses” of specific vitamins have little or no protection against heart disease. But my research tells a different story. There’s evidence that vitamin C, especially when combined with lysine, can reverse the buildup of plaque in arteries. It takes high doses and years of consistent use. Before and after photographs of arteries in the eyes have proven this. Read my past articles about the research of Dr. Sydney Bush on the Vitamin C page of my website. Following my own heart attack 21 years ago, instead of cholesterol lowering drugs which have harmful side effects, I opted to take high doses of Medi-C Plus, a natural remedy that I believe has prolonged my life. It’s kept me alive to 95 years of age.

Greater numbers of men than women die of cardiovascular disease. This has been true for many years. But according to several authorities it has become a myth since 1984. Since that time more women died of cardiovascular disease than men. There are many reasons why this happened. First, women have been told for years that they have less risk of coronary attack than men. Consequently, when symptoms appear they’re less likely to seek medical attention and a speedy diagnosis. Women tend to ignore the pain as due to indigestion. Or they complain of pain between the shoulder blades, fatigue or nausea. And remember that time lost in making a diagnosis means more of the heart’s muscle tissue is lost.

Remember too that losing weight, exercising, saying no to cigarettes and having annual examinations to detect problems is a good way for everyone to decrease the risk of coronary attack. Learn more about cardiovascular health, vitamins, and a healthy lifestyle at

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones can be reached at

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