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Things that can hurt your heart

By Edirin Moses   |   04 February 2017   |   4:24 am


You know that a bad diet and too little exercise can hurt your heart. But there are lots of sneaky sources of heart disease that you may not be aware of. Here are some you need to know about, and heart-smart steps to help you keep healthy.

Belly Fat
Any extra weight is hard on your heart, but the kind around your midsection is especially dangerous. It may trigger your body to make hormones and other chemicals that can raise blood pressure and have a bad effect on your blood vessels and cholesterol levels. If you’re a woman and your waist is more than 35 inches around, or 40 inches if you’re a man, talk to your doctor about a diet and exercise plan. Research shows that yoga and short bursts of high-intensity exercise are great ways to whittle your middle.

Dental Problems
Need extra motivation to brush and floss every day? People with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease, too. The connection is not clear, but some experts think bacteria from your gums may move into your bloodstream, leading to inflammation of the blood vessels and other heart problems. See your dentist every six months for checkups. Make an appointment right away if you spot redness or soreness on your gums or changes in your teeth.

Traffic Delays
Anyone who’s ever been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic will tell you it’s stressful. That may be why research links spending a single hour in traffic to higher odds of having a heart attack. High noise levels – like the kind you hear on a highway – are also linked to heart disease. If you cannot avoid traveling during rush hour, squash stress by listening to relaxing music. Or share the ride and chat with your fellow passenger.

Hepatitis C
If you have this liver infection, you’re more likely to have low cholesterol and low blood pressure than people who don’t have the disease. But even so, you still have a higher risk of heart disease. Researchers think Hepatitis C may cause inflammation of the body’s cells and tissues, including those in the heart. Work closely with your doctor to keep tabs on any heart symptoms.

Not Getting Good Sleep
When you routinely get less than six hours of shut-eye a night, you raise your risk of higher blood pressure and cholesterol. It increases the odds you’ll become obese and get diabetes, too (both of which can hurt your heart). That does not mean you should sleep your way through the day. When you spend more than nine hours horizontal on a regular basis, it raises your odds of getting diabetes and having a stroke – major risk factors for heart disease. Baby your brain, body, and heart -aim for 7 to 9 hours of slumber a night.

An Unhappy Marriage
A good match makes your heart happy and healthy. Older adults who are content in their unions have a lower risk of heart disease than those who are not, according to a recent study. The likely cause? Stress. When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to make bad diet choices and do other things that can hurt your ticker, like drinking too much alcohol. What’s more, stress hormones may have a negative effect on the heart. So consider seeing a couples’ therapist or clergy member together if your marriage is not a happy one.

Loneliness
When you spend time with loved ones, it thwarts stress and helps you stay active. Lonely folks may be more likely to have heart disease. If you’re not near family or close friends, get connected by helping someone in need, or adopt a dog or cat. Volunteers and dog owners might enjoy better heart health and live longer, too.


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