It’s American Heart Month – time to take stock of your health for the sake of your “ticker.”
But how much do you really know about heart disease? According to a new survey, we have some work to do!
That’s concerning because it proves an overall lack of knowledge about heart disease, our risk factors and prevention.
The survey found 7 out of 10 Americans recognized heart disease as the number one killer of both men and women, but the MDVIP and Ipsos poll found that people still worry more about cancer than they do a heart attack.
“About 800,000 people die from a heart attack every year. More people die of heart disease than all cancers combined,” said Dr. Andrea Klemes, chief medical officer for MDVIP.
“Over 80 percent of those deaths are preventable,” she added.
So MDVIP created the quiz to find out what people know about their heart health in order to help educate them. In some cases, the results were alarming.
“The Heart Attack IQ [Quiz] found that most people – over 75 percent -- didn’t really know the causes of a heart attack,” said Dr. Klemes.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Only 31 percent of women (vs. 53 percent of men) have asked their primary care doctor for help on how to prevent or manage heart disease.
- 64 percent of Americans incorrectly believe a heart attack happens when cholesterol builds up in the blood and clogs an artery.
- 75 percent are not aware that most major heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels.
- More than 50 percent of Americans believe that people with heart disease should eat as little fat as possible, not taking into account the value of good fats.
Here’s one Heart Attack IQ Quiz question people had a tough time answering when we randomly surveyed a few diners at Kerby’s Koney Island off Northwestern Highway in Southfield recently:
Which of the following foods is the worst for your cholesterol?
A. A medium fries
B. 3 oz. filet mignon
C. Cup of ice cream
D. Scrambled egg
Most of our diners guessed a medium fries (myself included! We were wrong.
The second most popular answer was a tie between the filet and the egg.
Guess what? Wrong again!
The correct answer: C. Cup of ice cream
“The saturated fat in the ice cream is worse for you than the French fries, or the steak, or the scrambled egg,” said Dr. Klemes. “But all fat is not bad.”
She pointed to the “good fats” in salmon or nuts which she said -- when eaten in moderation --can help prevent a heart attack.
Dr. Klemes also said people need to know what increases inflammation.
“Not exercising, smoking, not sleeping well, stress – all those things plus diabetes and other medical diseases -- really increase your risks of having inflammation and increase your risk of a heart attack,” said Dr. Klemes.
You can review how you did with your primary care physician.
Ask your doctor about inflammatory markers, if a plant-based diet is right for you, and what you should do to help reduce your risk of heart disease.
The survey findings were from a poll conducted on November 15-16, 2018 on behalf of MDVIP. The survey sampled 1,006 adults ages 18 and over across the U.S. The poll has a credibility interval of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents.