Guest Post by: Tara Desquitado
You may think that you are currently leading a healthy and active lifestyle, but you could be undermining these efforts by unknowingly practicing some heart-harming habits. According to Kevin R. Campbell, MD, a Raleigh cardiac electrophysiologist, several activities many individuals don’t think twice about can negatively affect the heart’s health.
The smallest of things could bring the greatest impact on your body’s blood-pumping organ. Here are the top five heart-damaging habits that you might be overlooking today:
- Skipping Physical Activities
According to a study published in the American Heart Association journal, people who live a sedentary lifestyle, particularly those who sit up to five hours or more a day, double their risk of heart failure compared to those who are physically active.
While it may seem difficult for many to exercise every day, especially for those whose jobs require sitting at a desk for the most part of the day, living an active lifestyle is completely possible. Even a five-minute walk every hour can perk up the mind and fuel the heart, making your arteries flexible and your blood flowing properly.
Smoking is one of the top five habits that damage the heart, and there’s no surprise there. This nasty habit has always done nothing but chaos in one’s health, affecting the blood vessels of the heart and contributing to the narrowing and clogging of the arteries. Overall, smoking increases one’s risk of heart disease, eventually leading to a heart attack or a stroke.
If you don’t want to have to use medical oxygen sensors for your heart to receive the right amount of oxygen it needs, it’s best to quit smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars. It’s also advised to avoid secondhand smoke whenever possible.
- Drinking Too Much
Having one too many drinks may spell trouble for your heart. While it may be easy to indulge in alcohol, especially at a party or a special occasion, take time to remember how it will affect your health at the end of the day.
Drinking too much alcohol, especially for a long-term, can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke, increasing one’s chances of developing a heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, excessive drinking can disrupt one’s heart rhythm and may cause the heart to fail.
- Having Too Much Sodium
Salt and blood pressure are a complicated pair—too much sodium can cause blood pressure levels to rise, which is bad news for the heart. While it may seem easy to avoid the saltshaker, there are hidden sodium content in many of the food we eat, including processed foods such as canned soups and veggies, frozen dinners, chips, and other finger snacks.
If you have hypertension and a history of heart disease in the family, it’s best to consult a nutritionist to know how much salt is needed to consume per day.
- Stressing Too Much
Learn how to relax—Dr. Campbell says that too much stress can put the heart at great risk for a heart attack. When one is stressed, the body tends to release adrenaline, which not only affects the body’s functions, but also increases one’s heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, this can take a toll on the heart.
While it is normal for anyone to feel stress, learn how to keep it under control. Find a release such as a hobby that you enjoy or a workout session at the gym. Exercise also works wonders in relieving mental tension.
Oftentimes, we tend to normalize our habits that we fail to determine if they are any good for our health or not. However, it’s never too late to do something about it.
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