BEWARE: 10 (common) habits that put your heart in trouble

by Sobiya N. Moghul


 Avoid excessive intake of alcohol as much as you can for a healthy life.

1. 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 Dr Sharad. 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 sitting job in office & turn the TV set on and sit down for several hours which is convenient and easy to do but we are not realizing prolonged sitting increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases.

2. Leaving hostility and depression unchecked

Do you often feel stressed, hostile, or depressed? All of these can take a toll on your heart too. Today each one of us feel this way 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 build-up over time, which can lead to gum disease. One theory is that these bacteria trigger inflammation in the body. “Inflammation promotes all aspects of Atherosclerosis,” says Dr. Sharad Kasarle. Treating gum disease can improve blood vessel function.

5. Withdrawing from the world

It’s 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 alone time, but you should still reach out to others and keep in touch whenever you can.

6. Drinking (too much) alcohol

Sure, studies suggest a small amount of alcohol may be good for your heart. Alas, too many over-imbibe. Excess 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.

7. Overeating

Being overweight is a major risk factor for heart disease. Try to eat less, avoid oversize portions, and replace sugary drinks with water. Dr. Sharad Kasarle also suggest cutting portion sizes for high-caloriecarbohydrates (think refined pastas and breads) and watching out for foods labelled “low-fat,” which are often high in calories

8. Smoking or living with a smoker

Sure, you’ve heard it a million times before: Don’t smoke. But it bears repeating. “Smoking is a total disaster for your heart,” says Dr. Kasarle. 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.

9. 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 federal 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.

10. Being a salty snacker

The more salt you consume, the higher your blood pressure rises. One in three American adults has high blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke, kidney failure, and heart attack. “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”, points Dr Sharad. 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.


Read this article in Times of India


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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