Keeping An Unhealthy Heart at Bay
Heart health is extremely important for people of all ages, as the heart is what keeps us going. Scarily enough, heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States — meaning that it’s more of an epidemic than you might think. To prevent heart disease and serious heart conditions, it’s important to lead a heart healthy lifestyle.
Though you might think you’re doing everything right when it comes to heart health, there are some contributing factors to an unhealthy heart that you might not be aware of. Some of them may even surprise you.
The Dangers Of Too Much Exercise
Though exercise is good for you overall, and in many ways can promote a strong and healthy heart, there is a limit to what you can do before it starts to become a detriment. There is significant research that shows high levels of exercise might be cardiotoxic, particularly in athletes whose lives revolve around intense physical activity. Studies showed that intense endurance exercises can specifically cause negative cardiac changes in athletes.
“Much of the discussion regarding the relative risks and benefits of long-term endurance sports training is hijacked by definitive media-grabbing statements, which has fueled an environment in which one may be criticized for even questioning the benefits of exercise,” cardiologist Dr. André La Gerche told EurekAlert about the results of a review published by the Canadian Journal of Cardiology that studied the effects of too much cardio and endurance exercise. “This paper discusses the often questionable, incomplete, and controversial science behind the emerging concern that high levels of intense exercise may be associated with some adverse health effects.”
The Signs Might Be Hidden
It’s possible that you might show signs of an unhealthy heart or potential heart problems without even realizing it. Though there are several more traditional things that can put you at risk for heart disease like poor diet, physical inactivity and high blood pressure, there are several other things that put you at more risk than you might imagine.
Sleep apnea is a condition that significantly increases your chances of having a heart attack within five years, and constant weakness is a sign that you might be closer to a heart attack than you think. Dizziness and sweating are also two important signs to look out for. Dizziness can be caused by an abnormal heart rhythm and sudden sweating is often a sign that something might be wrong.
Several recent studies have shown that if you sleep in on the weekends to a later hour than you would during the workweek, it can negatively affect your metabolism, cholesterol, and body mass index. One study involved several hundred subjects wore devices that tracked their sleeping patterns, and 85 percent of participants saw a negative impact to their heart health as a result of sleeping in on weekends.
“It’s not clear yet that this is a long-term effect,” the study’s lead author, Patricia Wong, told the New York Times. “But we think of this as people having to sleep and work out of sync with their internal clock, and that having to be out of sync may be having these health effects.”
Is Vaping Really Healthier Than Smoking?
It’s long been known that smoking is terrible for your heart as well as your lungs and other parts of your body, and many have turned to vaping as a “healthier” alternative to the traditional cigarette. You may want to stop inhaling that vape pen, however — it turns out, vaping is just as bad for your heart as smoking is.
University of Athens Medical School Professor Charalambos Vlachopoulos told Teen Vogue that vaping is “far more dangerous than people realize. I wouldn’t recommend them now as a method to give up smoking.” In relation to heart health, vaping has been proven to stiffen the aorta. This makes it more difficult to pump blood.
The Way To A Healthy Heart
Of course, you can avoid heart disease by changing your diet and exercise regimen to promote heart health. Eat heart healthy foods that deliver fiber, antioxidants, fatty acids and potassium to your body. All of these nutrients are essential to maintaining a healthy heart as well as a healthy body overall.
Create a meal plan that focuses on heart health, especially if you’re at more risk of heart disease than others due to genetics and other outstanding factors. Also be sure to remain active without overdoing it. Taking the right steps and identifying the signs, some of which may be hidden, can help you drastically improve your heart health and lower your risk for disease!