We all know that failure to adopt a holistic cardiovascular and strength training exercise program, a healthy diet, and a set of sensible lifestyle habits can increase the risks for cardiovascular diseases. But there are hidden dangers in the environment that scientists have discovered also increase the risks for heart attacks!
#1 Extreme Weather
During a severe winter spell, your blood vessels constrict while your blood pressure increases. Your heart will literally ache from these internal processes, not to mention that your risk for death caused by a heart attack or a stroke also increases.
During an extremely hot day in summer, your blood pressure falls. Your heart then works harder to make up for the decrease, which also increases your risks for a heart attack.
What then can you do? Since you cannot control the weather, your best bet is to control the temperature of whatever room you may be in.
#2 Avoiding the Sun
With the risk of skin cancer from sun exposure dangling over the heads of many people, avoidance of the sun appears to be a logical step. But studies have shown that staying indoors and, thus, avoiding the sun can increase your risks for heart health issues.
This is because Vitamin D, which the sun’s rays activate, so to speak, in our bodies, can reduce high blood pressure. As such, your risks for heart attack and stroke also lessens.
Tip: Get your sunshine exposure from 6 to 9 in the morning when the sun’s rays are at their most beneficial. At other times, be sure to protect your skin by applying sunscreen and using protective gear, among others.
#3 Skipping Vaccines
Even a relatively simple case of the flu can put undue stress on the heart and, lead to its infection. In turn, the stress of an infection in the body can bring on cardiac arrest.
Immunizations against the flu and pneumonia, especially for people over age 65, should then be undertaken according to the doctor’s recommendation.
#4 Living Near Traffic
Let’s face it. When you live in an urban area with notorious traffic, you may feel like having a heart attack whenever you have been stuck for hours in one. But it’s not just the stress of navigating kilometric traffic lines either – the fumes can also get to your heart.
According to a Harvard School of Public Health study, exposure to air pollution and traffic contributes to 12% of heart attacks globally!
But since you cannot avoid traffic and its fumes without relocating to the pristine countryside, you can schedule your travels so that the incidence of getting caught in traffic can be lessened.
#5 Taking Dietary Supplements
While taking nutritional supplements to boost nutrient intake in certain circumstances, such as in pregnant women and in people with certain underlying medical conditions, is advisable, it can also slightly increase the risks for heart attacks.
For example, taking calcium supplements may increase the risk for a heart attack especially in women although scientists still have yet to know why. This is also true for beta-carotene while taking fish oil has not been conclusively proven to benefit heart health.
The bottom line: Just adopt a healthy diet and you should be just fine.
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