Things You Never Thought Could Cause a Heart Attack
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Everyone knows the building blocks to a healthy heart include lots of fruits, vegetables and exercise along with regular heath care, but here are a few unusual factors that can increase your risk of a heart attack.
1. Your outlook on life
A sunny disposition can keep you living longer. Pessimism, anger and stress take their toll on your health. According to the British Heart Foundation, “When pessimism was associated with symptoms of depression, there was a significant increase in further serious cardiac events (such as fatal heart attack, cardiac surgery or readmission with a heart attack) compared to those with an optimistic attitude. Furthermore, optimism appeared to protect against depressive symptoms, with fewer reporting them in the optimistic group.”
2. Your love life
A negative relationship with your significant other can be bad for your heart, literally. According to a study by epidemiologists at University College London, relationship problems can up your risk of having a heart attack by 34 percent, says Health.com.
3. A bossy boss
WebMD quotes a Swedish study that says people who consider their bosses to be unfair, arbitrary, inconsiderate and generally deficient in managerial skills are at greater risk for having a heart attack. The study measured the employees’ perception of their boss, not their boss’ actual demeanor. In other words, if you think you have a bad boss, you can be at risk.
4. Where you live
A 2001 study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that people in lower-income neighborhoods were up to three times more likely to have heart disease than peers with similar incomes, education and jobs living in wealthier communities, drawing a clear link between socioeconomic environment of neighborhoods and health status
A German study showed a correlation between living near a noisy road or in an urban setting and heart disease. The thought is that exposure to heavy traffic, air pollution and stress — whether you’re traveling by car, bike or public transit — may double your risk of a heart attack.
Interestingly enough, during the three days immediately after someone is diagnosed with the flu, his or her chance of having a heart attack is significantly higher than usual. People with severe psoriasis, lupus, bronchitis, pneumonia and even urinary tract infections are also at an increased risk. In short, try to stay healthy and get a flu vaccine.
The American Heart Association says depression affects 10 percent of the population, but one-third of the people who suffer heart attacks report depression. Part of the problem is that people who are depressed often fall into unhealthy habits that may increase their risk of heart disease.
“Other physiological things are happening in the body, including increased stress hormones, higher levels of cortisol and higher glucose levels,” said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. “Taking care of your overall outlook and well-being is as important as taking care of your blood pressure and cholesterol.”
7. Gum disease
Plaque in your mouth often reflects plaque in your arteries. Studies have shown that people with gum disease can have up to 25 percent greater risk of heart disease than people with good dental health.
The good news is that there are factors you can control, unlike the risk factors you inherited from your family tree. Preventative care and good health practices go a long way toward lowering health risks.
When you find yourself in a heart emergency, call 9-1-1 and get to the nearest ER. If you know you’re at risk, be prepared now and plan to go to a hospital with a STEMI center, which enacts life-saving procedures and treatment in the critical moments when a heart artery clogs.