Surprising Causes of Heart Attack

You know that smoking and an unhealthy diet can set you up for a heart attack, but there are less common causes that may surprise you.

Get to know the culprits of unusual heart attack and how to curb them:
1. Cold weather

Extremely cold temperatures can place an immense strain on your heart. The cold can make your arteries constrict, and cause difficulty for your blood to reach your heart. What’s more, your heart needs to work much harder to pump blood through your body to keep you warm. If it’s forced to work too hard, you may end up having a heart attack. Overexerting yourself in the cold is even riskier.

If you have heart disease and are at risk of having a heart attack, do your heart a favour and layer up if you’re heading out. Pull on a thick jacket, woolly scarf and a pair of clunky boots. And, avoid any vigorous activities or sports out in the cold.

2. Intense emotions

Scary but probable: research shows that your risk for a heart attack is highest during the first 24 hours of losing a loved one and can remain high for a month after the person’s death.

Strong emotions like anger, stress and grief can have major consequences for your heart. These extreme emotions can negatively impact your electrical heart impulses, causing your heart rate and blood pressure to rise significantly. This can spur on a heart attack.

Practise deep breathing exercises or mediation to calm your heart rate. Find ways of controlling your emotions. Go for a walk or write down how you’re feeling. Ask a friend, family member or counsellor to help you. A reliable support system can make a huge difference in helping cope with grief.

3. Getting out of bed

 

It’s something you do every day, and probably the last thing you would associate with a heart attack. But it’s true: heart attacks are more common in the morning.

When you get out of bed, your brain floods your body with hormones. This can put extra pressure on your heart. You may also be dehydrated after a long night’s rest, which can increase your heart’s workload even more.

If you have heart disease or other risk factors for heart attack like diabetes, make sure you sleep as restfully as possible, so you don’t feel rushed and stressed when you awake. Keep a glass of water at your bedside so you can rehydrate first thing in the morning. Take a few minutes to breathe deeply. This will help get your mental faculties awake and ready.

 

4. Gum disease

Gum disease affects more than just your mouth. Through this disease, harmful bacteria can enter your bloodstream and make their way to your heart. Once there, they latch onto fatty deposits in your arteries and harm the lining of your blood vessels. This causes blood clots and may end in a heart attack.

Brush and floss your teeth twice a day and visit your dentist regularly. Good oral hygiene habits go a long way in maintaining a healthy mouth and heart, especially if you have valvular heart disease.

5. Sex

Sexy time is healthy, but can become a health hazard, especially if you have a weakened heart.

Vigorous sexual activity can cause your heart to work harder and faster to supply your body with blood. This can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to skyrocket, which can become dangerous if you have a heart problem and may lead to a heart attack.

Fortunately, the chance of having a sex-induced heart attack is low. Still, if you’re concerned you may be at risk, talk to your doctor. Ask him what type of sexual activity is safe. Moderate exercise can also help strengthen your heart muscle and give you the stamina you need for your next session between the sheets.

 

Find out more about heart disease and heart attack here.

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