15 Weird Things Linked to Heart Attacks
Heart attack risk factors
When it comes to heart attacks, most people think a steady diet of greasy food and sedentary living is to blame.
While it’s true that diet and lifestyle play a role (not to mention, family history), there are other, less common factors linked with heart trouble.
Here are some weird things that you would never think could potentially harm your heart.
The researchers looked at heart attacks over a 9-year period in people aged 45 to 64 living in four states.
“It’s very true and something you can’t do much about other than change where you live or spend time in places where the air quality isn’t so toxic,” says Malissa J. Wood, M.D., co-director of the Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center.
The evidence was not strong enough to change current practice, says Dr. Wood, although it is a good idea to talk with your doctor about alternative antibiotics if you have heart disease.
(Consult your doctor about taking calcium; some research suggests calcium can protect the heart.)
“I tell patients to get calcium in their diet,” Dr. Wood says. “Eat oily fish twice a week along with other foods that have calcium and get outdoors for vitamin D.”
In fact, autoimmune diseases are a risk factor in general. Dr. Wood says the number-one cause of death among people with lupus is heart attack.
Low HDL cholesterol
“If young people have heart attacks, I can almost always tell you they have low HDL,” says Dr. Wood, author of Smart at Heart. Dr. Wood says there are ways to increase good cholesterol. The two most powerful tools? Exercise and weight loss.
Another study of 10,000 men found that those with chronic kidney disease had a two-fold greater risk of heart attack than those who didn’t.
A 2009 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that women with depression were twice as likely to develop heart disease over time than those who weren’t depressed.
Other studies have linked job strain with a 23% increase in risk as well.
The connection is thought to be mouth bacteria, which can trigger chronic inflammation in the blood vessels. “If you have disease in the vessels in one place in your body, you have them in other vessels as well,” Dr. Wood says.
People with diabetes are about two to four times as likely to die of heart disease than their same-age peers without diabetes.
The good news is that healthy eating and exercise can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke for people with diabetes.