If you want to be heart healthy, you have to be heart smart. Test your knowledge by answering true or false to the following statements. Then check the answers below to see how well you did.
- Heart failure happens rapidly and often comes as a surprise.
- Women who have reached menopause are more likely than men to develop high blood pressure.
- People who already have a heart condition should get an annual flu shot.
- For exercise to be vigorous enough to strengthen your heart, you have to go “all out” for at least 20 minutes.
- False. Heart failure, a condition in which the heart’s pumping action is weak and unable to pump blood throughout the body, develops over time. The progressive weakening may cause blood and fluid backup in the lungs; fluid buildup in the feet, ankles and legs; tiredness; and shortness of breath.
- True. A woman’s risk for high blood pressure rises considerably after menopause.
- True. Flu and pneumonia pose significant risks for heart patients because these lung infections reduce the body’s ability to take in oxygen, causing the heart to work harder. Ask your cardiologist whether you should get a flu shot this year.
- False. Aim to exercise with an effort that keeps your heart rate within 50 percent to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age). For example, a 40-year-old person should keep his or her heart rate between 90 and 135 beats per minute [220 – 40 = 180 x 0.5 = 90]. Another guide: You should be able to talk, but not sing, while you work out.