In The United States Of America, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both, women and men, and results in around 1 in every 4 deaths. Though there are some risk factors for heart disease, which cannot be controlled, such as family history, there are some other risk factors that can be controlled if we know what these factors could be. So, let us read further and explore 16 things that can harm your heart.
16 Things That Can Harm Your Heart:
1. Dental Problems:
Individuals suffering from gum diseases are more likely to suffer from heart disease too. Though the connection between gum disease and heart disease is not clear, however, few experts think that bacteria from the gums might move into your bloodstream and lead to inflammation of the blood vessels and heart issues.
Visit your dentist every 6 months for dental checkups. Apart from this, if you spot soreness or redness on your gums or any changes in your teeth, then immediately make an appointment with your dentist.
2. Shift Works:
As per a recent study from the Western University in Canada, it has been found that irregular working hours or working at night increases the risk of a heart attack. It has been said by researchers that shift works have a bad impact on the circadian rhythm of your body and they also believe that it harms your heart. So, if you work during irregular hours or night shifts, take extra steps to reduce your risk of heart disease, and for this, you can eat a balanced diet, get exercise, and go to the doctor for regular check-ups.
3. Early Menopause:
For women who enter into their menopause before an age of 46, the risk of having a heart stroke or heart attack might be twice as high as women who get through it later.
Estrogen is a hormone with a ticker-friendly effect, and a drop in this hormone might play a role. Consult with your doctor and test for any risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol.
4. Hepatitis C:
If you suffer from a liver infection known as Hepatitis C, you are more likely to suffer from low blood pressure and low cholesterol than those who do not suffer from the disease. You also have a higher risk of heart disease. So, having Hepatitis C can harm your heart too.
Researchers think Hepatitis C might result in the inflammation of the cells and tissues of your body, including those that are in your heart.
So, you should work with your doctor well and keep a check on any symptoms of heart disease.
5. Not Having Proper Sleep:
One of the 16 things that can harm your heart could be not getting enough sleep. There is an increased risk of higher cholesterol levels and high blood pressure if you routinely sleep less than 6 hours a night. This increases the chances of you becoming obese and getting diabetes too; and both, obesity and diabetes can harm your heart. Again, if you sleep more than 9 hours regularly, it also increases your chances of suffering from diabetes and having a stroke, which are the major risk factors for heart disease. So, aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep in the night.
6. Traffic Delays:
Did you know, even traffic delays can harm your heart? Being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic might be extremely stressful. That’s the reason why research says that there are links between spending one hour in traffic and higher odds of getting a heart attack. High levels of noise, such as the kind you hear on a freeway, are also associated with a risk of getting heart disease. So, try to avoid the rush hours, or else if you can’t avoid traveling during the rush hours, squash your stress by listening to some soothing or relaxing music.
If you regularly snore or if you sound as if you are gasping for air when you are sleeping, then you should consult with your doctor. Possibly you might have apnea, which is a severe condition that happens when there is a blockage in your airway, and it can result in having pauses in your breathing. This disorder is associated with high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure. There are treatments available that can help you to breathe easily and also reduce the risk of heart disease.
8. Belly Fat:
Belly fat can also harm your heart. One must know that any extra weight is hard on the heart, but it is especially dangerous if there is extra fat around your midsection. This might trigger your body to make hormones and various other chemicals that can increase your blood pressure and also negatively affect your blood vessels and your cholesterol levels. If you are a man with your waist of more than 40 inches, or a woman with a waist of more than 35 inches, you should talk to your doctor about the right exercise and diet plan. Research has shown that yoga and short bursts of high-intensity exercise are wonderful ways to reduce the size of your belly.
9. Overeating And Overweight:
Being overweight is a serious risk factor for heart disease. Around 64% of women and 72% of men in the United States of America are obese or overweight. Obesity is even associated strongly with a raised risk of all-cause mortality and also cancer and cardiovascular mortality.(1)
Apart from being overweight, even overeating can harm your heart. Try to eat less, replace sugary drinks with water, and avoid oversize portions. You should watch out for foods that are labeled “low-fat”, which are usually high in calories.
10. Eating Too Much Of Red Meat:
One more thing that can harm your heart is eating too much red meat. You should only eat red meat occasionally and not include it in your daily diet. Red meat is loaded with saturated fat, and evidence also suggests that processed meat like hot dogs and bacon increases your risk of colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. Ideally, less than 10% of your daily diet should be from animals and animal products. So, cut down or limit the amount of red meat you intake daily. It is good to eat a healthy and balanced diet.
11. Avoiding Fruits And Vegetables:
If you avoid fruits and vegetables from your daily diet, you are at an increased risk of suffering from heart disease. A plant-based diet is the most heart-healthy diet. So if you include more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy, and protein in your diet, and stay away from junk food, then you can improve your heart health.
New federal dietary guidelines have recommended that half of each meal must be fruits and vegetables.(2)
It has been found from research that individuals who eat more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, had about 20% lower risk of heart stroke and heart disease than individuals who consumed less than 3 servings.
Consuming a high amount of fruits and vegetables could be one of the best parts of a healthy diet and it reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, which are the two most common causes of premature death across the world.(3)
12. Smoking Or Living With A Smoker:
“Smoking is seriously dangerous for your heart. Smoking promotes blood clots and this can block the flow of blood to your heart and can cause plaque buildup in your arteries.
As per the Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health during the year 2014, it has been found that smoking is a major cause of CVD or Cardiovascular disease, and it causes approximately 1 in every 4 deaths from cardiovascular disease. In the U.S, Cardiovascular disease is the single largest cause of death, killing more than 800, 000 people every year. Above 16 million Americans get heart disease and almost 8 million people have a heart attack and 7 million get a stroke.(4)
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2008, it has been found that in the U.S, smoking accounted for about 33% of all deaths from Cardiovascular disease and 20% of deaths from Ischemic heart disease in people who were older than 35 years of age. (5)
Smoking is also dangerous for you if you are living with a smoker. Around 46, 000 nonsmokers who stay with a smoker die due to heart disease every year because of secondhand smoke.
13. Consuming Excessive Alcohol:
Studies have suggested that a small amount of alcohol might be good for your heart, but excessive alcohol consumption might be seriously dangerous.
Excessive consumption of alcohol is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, and high levels of blood fats. Additionally, the extra calories can also cause weight gain, which is a threat to your heart health.
So, if you are a man and drink alcohol, then do not drink more than 2 drinks a day; and if you are a woman and drink then do not take more than one drink a day.
14. Consuming More Salts:
Consuming more salts can also increase your blood pressure. 1 in every 3 American adults suffers from high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attack, heart stroke, and kidney failure.
Most of us must keep our sodium intake below 2, 300 mg per day. If you suffer from high blood pressure or if you are above 50 years of age, then you should cut back to 1,500 mg.
15. Unhappy Marriage:
An unhappy marriage can also harm your heart. As per a recent study from Michigan State University, older adults who are content in their relationship with their spouse, have a reduced risk of heart disease than those who are not. But, what could be the cause? Probably it is due to stress. When we are stressed, we are more likely to make bad diet choices and also drink more alcohol or do other things that can hurt your heart. Moreover, stress hormones might also affect your heart negatively.
Loneliness is also one of the 16 things that can harm your heart. When we spend good times with our loved ones, we keep away from stress and also remain active. Lonely people are more likely to get heart disease. So, if you feel alone, get connected with someone close to you, or at least adopt a cat or a dog to spend quality time with. Dog owners or volunteers might also enjoy better heart health and also live longer.
So, these were the 16 things that can harm your heart. If you are interested in having a better life with better heart health, then try to avoid things that are harmful to your heart and adopt things that are healthy for your heart.