top 5 ways you're ambushing your heart

February 23rd, 2015

Top 5 Ways You’re Accidentally Ambushing Your Heart

Here’s the bad news: when it comes to controlling our heart’s fate, we can’t control all of the factors that affect our heart health, like heredity and medical history. However, there are some risk factors for heart disease and other serious health complications that we can control as long as we’re aware of them. When it comes to heart health, ignorance is most definitely not bliss.

Pay attention to the following 5 bad habits that could be completely derailing the health of your heart:

  1. Sleep Deprivation – If you think the worst thing that can happen from lack of sufficient sleep is being groggy, think again. Sleep deprivation, be it from stress or otherwise, is a significant cause of multiple health issues, among them heart-related complications. Get your zzzz’s no less than seven to eight hours a night. Doctor’s orders.
  2. Physical Inactivity – An inactive lifestyle is a major contributor to heart health issues. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes of moderate physical activity (like brisk walking) a minimum of four to six times per week.
  3. Smoking – There’s little we can tell you here that you likely don’t already know, but every cigarette you smoke brings you closer to circulation issues, blood clots, stroke, heart attack and a host of other unpleasant outcomes. If you think you need help quitting, contact your doctor.
  4. High Sodium Diet – Too much sodium in your diet is a direct cause of high blood pressure. High blood pressure causes vessel constriction, heart attacks, strokes and a litany of other dangerous conditions. Steer clear of processed foods whenever possible, as they’re notoriously high on the salt scale.
  5. High Sugar Diet – And while you’re setting aside the salty, processed foods, you’d do well to toss those sugary foods from your fridge, too. Controlling your caloric intake and abstaining from overeating – especially foods high in sugar – could reduce your risk of sleep apnea, a condition that often leads to heart health issues. Opt for produce, lean meats and foods high in protein and antioxidants rather than additives.

If you suspect that your heart may not be in tip top shape, don’t wonder about your heart health, know. Try our quick and easy Sentara Heart Health Profiler tool, and learn your heart’s “real age.”