True or false? Facts & myths surrounding the heart

Sex is a no-no for people with a weak heart! Coffee is good for the heart! There are lots of heart myths like that. Which claims are true and which are just a myth? We clear this up.

04.09.2019

Carmen Schmidli

The heart is the engine of our lives. It is our most important organ. However, there are numerous claims surrounding the heart – not all of which are true. We have examined nine myths.

Sleep apnoea strains the heart

The illness leads to interruptions in your breathing during the night and negatively impacts the deepness and quality of your sleep. If you stop breathing, your body does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen. Your blood pressure and heart rate increase. Repeated lack of oxygen can cause long-term damage to your heart.

Further information on sleep apnoea

Strength training harms heart patients

Anyone who lifts heavy weights while simultaneously holding their breath strains their heart. However, moderate strength training is sensible. This results in increased muscle strength and endurance, for example. In addition, medium-intensity training relieves your heart muscle and lowers your blood pressure. Heart patients should discuss the training with their doctor.

Sex is a no-no for people with a weak heart

Fewer than 1% of all heart attacks occur during sexual intercourse. As long as you can perform low-intensity physical activities, there is no need to avoid sex. Before becoming sexually active again after a heart attack, it is important to discuss it with a doctor.

Acetylsalicylic acid protects against heart attacks

Experts advise healthy people against regularly taking medication containing acetylsalicylic acid (ASA). This is because the active ingredient ASA is not suitable for preventing heart attacks in healthy people. The reason for this is that there is an increased risk of adverse effects such as heavy bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Medication containing the active ingredient ASA should only be taken regularly in consultation with a doctor.

Heart diseases cause dementia

Various illnesses can lead to dementia, including vascular diseases. They lead to vascular dementia. So, for example, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can cause this type of dementia. This restricts blood flow to the brain, causing nerve cells to die. However, cardiac insufficiency or atrial fibrillation also increase the risk of contracting vascular dementia. This is because compromised heart function also leads to a circulatory disorder in the brain.

Coffee is good for the heart

Four to five cups a day are harmless for regular coffee drinkers. Study results suggest that coffee reduces the risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases. It isn’t entirely clear yet what effects coffee has on the body.

Other exciting facts on coffee

Jumping into cold water: cardiac arrest

Jumping into cold water is risky for healthy people. The abrupt change in temperature triggers enormous stress in the body: the blood pressure rises tremendously fast. The cold shock can even be life-threating for people with a diseased heart.

Mobile phones interfere with pacemakers

The fear that electromagnetic fields could interfere with a pacemaker dates back to older ones. Unlike older models, modern pacemakers are less failure-prone, because they are better shielded from radiation. So mobile phones cause virtually no more problems.

Vitamin pills are good for the heart

About half of the Swiss population take vitamin products. It has not been proven that they protect against heart diseases. US researchers published new results in the US journal “Circulation”: vitamin pills don’t lower the risk of heart attacks or other cardiovascular diseases. The researchers analysed 18 studies with more than two million participants.

US journal ­«Circulation»

Dr Robert C. Keller, Managing Director of the Swiss Heart Foundation Dr Robert C. Keller, Managing Director of the Swiss Heart Foundation

Dr Robert C. Keller, Managing Director of the Swiss Heart Foundation

Dr Robert C. Keller is the Managing Director of the Berne-based Swiss Heart Foundation. He has long-standing experience in the field of cardiovascular diseases and heads up the areas of research and prevention at the foundation. Dr Keller provided the editorial team with advice.

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