Facts and myths about the heart

Creases in the ear lobes, baldness and patches around the eyes may be signs of heart disease.

BOSTON (CNN) – If you’ve got a picture in your mind of a “typical” heart attack victim, well you probably need to reimagine it.

Heart disease and heart attacks can affect young people as well as old, women as often as men and there are some other surprising facts about cardiac health you may not know.

Dr. Malissa Wood is co-director of the women’s heart health program at Massachusetts General hospital in Boston.

She says there are many little-known facts about heart disease. For example, it “is” true you can die of a broken heart if the stress is high enough.

“Usually the loss of a loved one or a break-up. One of my patients was rear-ended and the gentleman yelled at her, pounded on her window and she had the sudden sensation of chest discomfort,” Dr. Wood said.

Here’s another myth, the symptoms of a heart attack are, generally speaking, pretty much the same in women as in men. The correct answer to that one could save your life.

Chest pain “is” the chief heart attack symptom for men, but it’s not uncommon for women to complain of jaw pain, neck pain, back pain, shortness of breath and palpitations.

And did you know looking old for your age can mean a higher risk of heart attack? That’s what a study finds.

Creases in the ear lobes, baldness and patches around the eyes may be signs of heart disease.

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