Common Habits That Risk Your Heart Health

By on June 14, 2013
habits causing heart issues

Everyone wants to be healthy and live longer. A healthy heart is the key to healthy living. Yet, cardiovascular disease affects more than 1 in 3 adults in the world. The good news is that some simple, everyday habits can make a big difference in your ability to live a healthy life.

There are an estimated 20 million patients who suffer from coronary heart disease. With millions of people leading modern frenzied lifestyle full of stress and depression, the future looks even grimmer. Nearly 90 % of heart problems are associated with lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking, overeating, and lack of exercise. Therefore, even a small positive change in your lifestyle can give you a healthier heart. Read about the worst habits for your heart and how to avoid them.

Ignoring the Snoring

More than a minor annoyance, snoring can be a sign of something more serious: obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder, marked by breathing that is interrupted during sleep, can cause blood pressure to skyrocket. A lot of people in India suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and are four times more prone to suffer from cardiovascular risk factors. Obese people are more prone to OSA, but that does not reduce the risk of occurrence in the slim people. If you snore and often wake up feeling tired, consult your doctor; there are easy ways to screen for apnea.

Ignoring your Dental Health

While the exact reason is unknown, there is a strong link between gum disease and heart disease. If you don’t floss, sticky, bacteria-laden plaque builds up over time, which can lead to gum disease. One theory is that these bacteria trigger inflammation in the body. Inflammation could promote all aspects of atherosclerosis. Treating gum disease can improve blood vessel function.

Withdrawing from the World

It is no secret that on some days, other human beings can seem annoying, irritating, and just plain difficult to get along with. However, it makes sense to strengthen your connections to the ones you actually like. People with stronger connections to family, friends, and society in general tend to live longer, healthier lives. Everyone needs a lone time, but you should still reach out to others and keep in touch whenever you can.

Leaving Hostility and Depression Unchecked

Each one of us may feel stressed, hostile, or depressed some or the other time, and how you deal with these emotions can affect your heart’s health. Those likely to internalize stress are in greater danger; research has shown a benefit to laughter and social support, and it’s helpful to be able to go to someone and talk about your problems.

heart and stethoscope

Watching TV

People who sit in front of the TV for more than four hours a day were 80% more likely to die for reasons linked to heart and artery disease – points a study. Even if someone has a healthy body weight, sitting for long periods of time in front of TV or computer still has an unhealthy influence on their blood sugar and blood fats. It is all a matter of habit many of us have learned to go back home after 6 to 8 hours of sitting job in office & turn the TV set on and watch for several hours which is convenient and easy to do, but we are not realizing prolonged sitting increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Drinking (too much) Alcohol

Sure, studies suggest a small amount of alcohol may be good for your heart. But excessive alcohol is linked to a greater risk of high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats, and heart failure. In addition, the extra calories can lead to weight gain, a threat to heart health. Avoid excessive intake of alcohol as much as you can for a healthy life.

Overeating

Overweight is a major risk factor for heart disease. Try to eat less, avoid oversize portions, and replace sugary drinks with water. EHC suggests cutting portion sizes for high-calorie carbohydrates (think refined pastas and breads) and watching out for foods labeled “low-fat,” which are often high in calories.

Smoking or Living with a Smoker

You’ve heard it a million times before: Don’t smoke. But it bears repeating. Smoking is a total disaster for your heart. Smoking promotes blood clots, which can block blood flow to the heart, and contributes to plaque build-up in the arteries. High blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight, and smoking are all risk factors that should be kept in check.

Avoiding Fruits and Vegetables

The most heart-healthy diet is a plant-based diet. That means loading up on fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and protein, and keeping junk food to a minimum. In fact, new dietary guidelines recommend that half of each meal should be composed of fruits and vegetables. Research has found that people who eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day had about 20% lower risk of heart disease and stroke than people who ate less than three servings per day.

Being a Salty Snacker

The more salt you consume, the higher your blood pressure rises. Steer clear of packaged junk food, read the labels for sodium content, and stick to the outer portions of the supermarket, which is where the fruits, vegetables, and (unsalted) nuts are. Most of us should keep sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams a day. If you have high blood pressure or are over 50, cut back to 1,500 milligrams.

Diet Soda

Drinking diet soda regularly can be cool for summer heat, but it can be a disaster for your heart health. Regular consumption of diet sodas may increase the risk of stroke or other heart disease, even if the patients do not have a history of heart disease.

Sleeping (too much/little)

Sleeping for less than five hours or more than nine hours can elevate your blood pressure and stress level. Moreover, it also increases the risk of coronary diseases.

Eating Red Meat

Can’t part with the beef? Choose a lean cut of red meat and limit your intake. It is best to think of red meat as an occasional treat rather than the foundation of a daily diet. Red meat is high in saturated fat, and there’s also evidence that processed meat, such as bacon and hot dogs, increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer.

Stopping or Skipping Medications

Let’s be honest: Taking pills is a pain. There can be side effects. And it’s easy to forget your meds, especially if you feel fine. High blood pressure is called the silent killer because you don’t feel it. Saying you feel fine is not a justification for stopping these pills. There are 30 types of high blood pressure medications, so if one medication doesn’t work, we can always try something else.

Ignoring Physical Symptoms

If you used to walk up three flights of stairs without a problem, but suddenly you’re short of breath after one flight or have chest pressure, it’s time to call your doctor. Never assume it’s because you’re out of shape. Doctors say “time is muscle,” meaning the quicker you get treatment for possible trouble, the less likely you are to have permanent damage to your heart muscle.

Image courtesy: scopeblog.stanford.edu , s-msn.com

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