6 less known risks that threaten your heart

6 less known risks that threaten your heart

Take care of your heart! Hmm, this is easier said than done, considering that a great many aspects of our lifestyle interfere with the proper functioning of our cardiovascular system. While irregular eating, diets consisting mainly in high-fat foods, sleeping less than six hours a night and lack of physical exercise are heart’s most dangerous enemies, the risk factors listed below should not be neglected either. If you already have heart issues, the following information might particularly be of interest to you.

1. Working in shifts

Research has shown that, unfortunately, people who work night shifts are more likely to develop heart disease, because of the cumulative fatigue and the negative impact working in the small hours has on their inner clock. If you work odd hours, try to compensate for this imbalance by taking up habits that can help your heart cope with the situation: work out more, adopt a healthier diet, see your doctor regularly.

2. Traffic delays

Even the most collected human beings in the world eventually lose patience when forced to sit in traffic for hours on their way home or to work. Furthermore, researcher’s findings are alarming in as much as they equate one hour in a traffic jam with the risk of heart attack, because of the high-intensity stress. Try to counteract the day-to-day irritability with listening to some relaxing music on the radio or riding in a car with workmates or friends. Or, on occasion, you can try the subway for a change.

3. Dental problems

According to specialists, people with gum issues are at greater risk of developing heart disease. Experts say that bacteria in the gums may reach the blood vessels, leading to inflammations and other cardiovascular complications. Sore or purple-coloured gums should be enough reason for you to ask for a dentist’s advice.

4. An unhappy marriage

When you have a happy marriage that makes you feel fulfilled, you have a healthy heart as well. Even couples who grow old together – if they have had a smooth relationship – are less exposed to the risk of developing heart disease, unlike those who have indulged themselves in a strained marriage or a relationship lacking what it takes to satisfy the partners’ emotional, intellectual or erotic needs.

Tension, stress, and dissatisfaction are heart’s worst enemies, all the more so since an unfulfilling relationship pushes you towards unhealthy choices: poor diet, intellectual limitation, alcohol abuse, inactivity, taking refuge in relationships with other people than your partner, all of these creating a general feeling of discontent. Do something for your heart, see a couples therapist and try to solve the problems that affect your relationship or be honest with yourself and your partner and choose different, more fulfilling paths.

5. Watching too much TV

Every hour you spend watching TV day after day increases your risk of having a heart attack by 20%. This is because just lying there, in bed or on the couch, leads to health conditions such as high blood pressure. You can do many other things to relax: walk in the park, have a refreshing drink with someone you care for, go to the theatre, attend a reading room or visit a botanical garden.

While after a day’s work you feel an overwhelming temptation to stretch out in front of the television set, try to become aware of the negative effects of this habit and start bringing about some healthy changes. Except a few TV channels that provide useful and interesting information (Discovery or National Geographic), all the others limit your thinking and charge you with negative suggestions. Be selective with how you spend your spare time!

6. Abdominal fat

While excess weight is an acknowledged enemy of a proper heart functioning, it gets even more dangerous when the extra kilograms pile up in the abdominal area. This stimulates the body to produce hormones and other chemical compounds that lead to high blood pressure and have a harmful effect on blood vessels and cholesterol level. Studies have shown that yoga and short but intense fitness sessions are excellent methods to lose belly fat.

A person is affected by central obesity when the waist-hip ratio exceeds 1,00 for men and 0,9 for women. To find out your WHR, measure your waist circumference, just above your belly button, and your hip circumference at its widest part, and divide the former by the latter.

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