Your heart is what keeps you alive. Beating around 2.5 billion times over your lifetime, the heart makes it possible for blood to circulate throughout your body, ensuring the functioning of other body parts and keeping you healthy. Your heart allows oxygen, hormones, essential cells, and other life-giving compounds to be distributed to their proper destinations. Given this task, your heart does an incredible job aside from beating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
However, your lack of awareness as to how your heart does a great job makes it possible for you to neglect its health. Your heart becomes only important once it stops to function properly.
In the United States, heart problems are one of the leading causes of death, accounting for one in every four deaths in a year. Heart issues can be attributed to a lot of factors, most of which include lifestyle factors. Your genes are one factor that is beyond your control. The other factors that can put your heart health at risk include the following:
1. Skipping breakfast
Not eating breakfast can be a form of intermittent fasting. Some dieters say this is an effective way to weight loss. This can be possible when you’re following a healthy lifestyle. But if you drink heavily or a bit overweight, you need to think again.
Numerous studies confirmed that there’s a link between skipping breakfast and atherosclerosis. The findings pointed out that breakfast skippers were two times more at risk to develop atherosclerosis compared to individuals who eat healthy bigger or lighter meals in the morning.
People who skipped breakfast showed more clogged arteries than those who didn’t. They were also found to have excess weight and follow unhealthy eating habits.
2. Excessive drinking habits
Alcohol is good for your heart health if taken moderately. Since too much of a good thing is harmful, drinking too much alcohol can pose serious risks for your heart. Studies revealed that cardiac arrest, stroke, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease are associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
When it comes to your drinking habits, moderation is always key. Moderation means not consuming more than 14 units of alcohol each week. This is equivalent to no more than 4 pints of beer a week or at least 7 glasses of wine a week.
If you don’t drink alcohol, staying this way can help you best. You don’t have to drink alcohol to keep your heart healthy. Various health alternatives are available such as exercising or following a healthy diet.
3. Dwelling on the negativities of life
Hostility has also been found to increase the risk of heart diseases, particularly to women, studies say. Negative and strong emotions like anger or hostility can lead to irregular heartbeats. Stressful situations can also increase your blood pressure and trigger your heart rate to go up.
Try to find ways to calm your nerves whenever you’re about to get stressed over something that is beyond your control. Also, note that not all things are worth fighting for. Give up something that you feel isn’t worth the health of your heart.
4. Facing financial stress
Aside from physical or emotional stress, financial stress can also take its toll on your heart’s health. Research found that most patients who suffered from heart attacks were going through a financial crisis. Scientists say the link could be due to the increased levels of cortisol or stress hormones and the presence of chronic inflammation that was likely to lead to heart attacks.
E-cigarettes are becoming popular but health experts say it comes with serious health risks. Aside from the lung problems that are linked to vaping, the health of your heart is also endangered with prolonged use. Vaping releases tiny aerosol particles that can be harmful to the heart. The nicotine in e-cigarettes is also said to narrow the blood vessels of the heart.
Scientists affirmed that e-cigarettes users are at a high risk to develop coronary artery disease, experience emotional distress, or even have heart attacks. These same scientists suggested that the study should be a wake-up call since vapers are 56 percent more likely to have heart attacks and 30 percent more likely to suffer from a stroke.
6. Having inadequate sleep
Good quality sleep is best for the heart while poor sleep quality can lead to developing the risk of heart issues, particularly to people who developed metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome includes symptoms of other health conditions that occur together such as high blood pressure, high glucose levels, excessive belly fat, and higher levels of bad cholesterol. All these things can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
It’s crucial to have good quality sleep when you’re having these things going on in your body. Sleep enables the body to heal itself. But you’ll curtail your body’s healing abilities when you don’t get enough shut-eye. The quality of sleep also matters more than quantity. Having eight hours of sleep is not enough when most of the time you keep tossing and turning in bed.
7. Being sedentary
Sitting longer hours at work or home while watching your favorite TV series can be harmful to the heart. Others call this the sitting disease because of the many health risks associated with being sedentary.
Health experts say that even exercising for two hours a day is not enough to wipe out the ill effects of sitting for long hours. The other 22 hours of your waking state do matter. Exercise is useless when it’s the only time when you move your body.
If your work or travel time requires you to sit longer, aim not to go beyond ten hours. Scientists say this is the threshold where sitting can’t totally cancel out the benefits you get out of your daily exercise routine. Going beyond that can put you at risk of cardiovascular diseases. If possible, get up from your desk from time to time to avoid being too sedentary.
8. Carrying excess weight
Being overweight, especially around the belly can pose a serious threat to your heart health. A recent study confirmed that patients who carried excess belly fat were 20 percent more likely to suffer from heart attacks. The visceral fat around the middle can encase the internal organs, which can lead to cardiovascular problems.