Heart disease has been noted as the leading cause of death for women and men in the United States. A person in the U.S. dies from cardiovascular disease every 37 seconds.(1) Did you know some surprising things can harm your heart? Below we will talk about some of them so that you can remain alert and keep your heart safe.
14 Surprising Things That Can Harm Your Heart
Sitting All Day
Are you having a desk job that demands you to sit throughout the day or do you spend too much time lying on your couch? If yes, then you are at risk of developing heart issues, especially getting encountered by heart failure.
According to a study published in AHA or American Heart Association journal, it was mentioned that individuals who do not move enough or who sit for more than five hours every day have an increased chance of developing heart problems.(2)
According to a study conducted by Indiana University and published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise on August 2014, it was mentioned that If you need to sit at a desk all day, take a break and go for a five-minute of walk every hour. This can at least keep your arteries and blood flowing properly, thus safeguarding against the ill effects of being sedentary.(3)
Not Sleeping Enough
If you are not getting enough sleep every night then you might suffer from a condition named sleep apnea. Though sleep apnea could be treated effectively by taking help from a sleep specialist, however, if it is left untreated, you might experience high blood pressure and this can affect your heart adversely.
Poor Dental Hygiene
Chronic inflammation can result in Coronary heart disease, and when you have poor dental hygiene, you suffer from inflammation of your gums, and this inflammation can affect your heart. Those who have more inflammation might have more atherosclerosis or plaque and fat buildup on the artery walls in their body, which in turn can cause blockages in the heart arteries and also lead to severe complications including heart attack.
A study published in the “Journal of Periodontal Research” in May 2014, has mentioned that individuals with coronary heart disease who properly flossed, had experienced fewer cardiovascular issues.(4) Can there be any connection? Yes, specific studies, including a study that was published in International Scholarly Research Notices in July 2013, it was found that bacteria that were associated with gum disease promoted inflammations in the body, and these inflammations were linked with an increased risk of heart disease.(5)
Going Through Menopause
It has been seen that premenopausal women have significantly lower rates of heart disease when compared to men. However, once women go through menopause and they are producing less estrogen and other hormones, their risk of developing heart disease increases. Out of several roles of estrogen in the body, one is to fuel nitric oxide to keep relaxed. However, with less or no estrogen, the arteries become stiffened and that makes it difficult for blood to effectively pump through the body. This causes high blood pressure.
Living In An Unhappy Relationship
Living in an unhappy or toxic relationship can increase your chances of heart problems. Such toxic relationships increase your stress level and you get indulged in unhealthy eating habits. Eventually, it increases your risk of heart problems. However, a content and happy relationship help you stay healthy mentally and physically and also increases longevity.
Doing Too Much Exercise At Once
Exercising is good for health and overall well-being. It also works great for your heart health. However, exercising too much at once, especially if you were leading a sedentary lifestyle for a long or if you are out of shape, can put extra pressure on your heart and can increase your risk of heart problems. When you exercise intensely or too fast, it can increase your risk of getting a heart attack. So, listen to your body and start slow while you are exercising.
Having Extra Intake Of Salts
Adding extra salt to your food can also be one of the things that can harm your heart. It increases the risk of developing high blood pressure and various heart diseases. Apart from this, taking more junk foods or processed foods can also increase your risk of various heart problems. It must be mentioned that intaking more than 5 grams of salt can put you at risk of many other health issues.
Being Exposed To More Of Pollution
Around 5% to 7% of all heart attacks that occur worldwide are due to exposure to air pollution and traffic. It has been found that people staying in polluted areas had an increased risk of harmful plaque buildup in the arteries over 10 years when compared with those who stayed in a clearer environment with clean air.
If you are living in a polluted area then you can reduce your risk by checking the air quality and trying to stay most of the time indoors when the air quality is poor.
Taking Certain Supplements
Certain products meant for enhancing performance or energy-boosting products can have a lot of harmful consequences, which might be because these products may have banned substances, such as steroids, or even prescription drugs that might increase the risk to your heart health. So you should always consult with your doctor about the products that you are taking.
Getting Stuck In Traffic
One of the most surprising things that can harm your heart is being stuck in traffic. For many people, traffic delays might be highly stressful. Research tells us that spending one hour in traffic is linked to higher odds of getting a heart attack.
Several past studies have mentioned that there is an association between exposure to traffic and various cardiovascular diseases.(6) High noise levels, which occur during traffic jams can also result in heart disease.
Snoring While Sleeping
Some people snore hard while sleeping regularly. Such people might have a serious condition known as apnea. This might happen when there is a blockage in your airway that might cause you to pause your breathing. This disorder is associated with high blood pressure, strokes, irregular heartbeat and heart failure. If you snore daily while sleeping then you should see your doctor. Treatments might aid you to breathe easier and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Having Extra Belly Fat
Being overweight can be troublesome for your heart. However, it might be particularly dangerous if you have additional fat in your midsection or additional belly fat. This can trigger your body to produce hormones and other chemicals that might cause high blood pressure and badly impact your blood vessels and levels of cholesterol.
Prior research has mentioned that abdominal obesity or belly fat can be a risk factor for the occurrence of the first heart attack. However, now Swedish researchers have said that there is a link between abdominal obesity and also repeat multiple heart attacks.(7) High-intensity exercise and yoga can help you in reducing your belly fat.
Enduring Intense Emotion For Long
Stress, anxiety or anger, enduring intense emotion for a long can be linked to high blood pressure and heart attacks. Lack of sleep, unhealthy eating, and straying from a regular fitness routine can impact your mental health and cause intense emotions.
Stress can increase your risk of developing heart disease and this has been found in studies.(8) Stress causes the release of adrenaline hormone, which affects the functioning of your body temporarily, and increases blood pressure, and also your heart rate. Too much stress for a longer period can damage the heart or increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Being Lonely For A Long
Being lonely for a long might be linked to heart disease. If you are living alone or away from family and friends then try to adopt a pet. Evidence shows that volunteers and dog owners may enjoy better heart health and increased longevity.
The University of York conducted research that suggested that loneliness along with social isolation are associated with a 29% increased risk ofangina or a heart attack and a 32% increased risk of stroke.(9)
Do Not Ignore The Warning Signs, Keep Your Heart Safe!
We must also warn you that not every cardiac arrest or heart attack comes with shortness of breath or heavy chest pain. Fatigue, lightheadedness, nausea, and pain in the neck and jaw, can also be some other symptoms that must be noted. So, you should keep in mind that if you notice any such symptoms, go for an immediate doctor’s visit. Moreover, you should also note down all the above-mentioned surprising things that can harm your heart and take strict care of your heart.
Take care of your heart. It is precious!
- Heart Attack Risk Linked to Time Spent in Traffic – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
- Stress Can Increase Your Risk for Heart Disease – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center