Unhappy marriage increases heart attack risk

Professor Dr. Nevrez Koylan, a cardiology specialist at Anadolu Health Center Hospital, states that the factors adversely affecting heart health are not limited to poor diet, lack of exercise, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, and high cholesterol. Prof. Dr. Koylan emphasized, “Although not the first examples that come to mind, habits such as shift work, snoring, unhappy marriage, or watching too much television seriously threaten heart health.”

According to the Turkey Ministry of Health, cardiovascular diseases, which cause over 18.6 million deaths annually, are the leading cause of death worldwide.

Highlighting that these conditions, which are not directly associated with heart health, often go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of daily life, Prof. Dr. Nevrez Koylan said, “Avoiding these negative environmental factors helps us guard against cardiovascular diseases.” Prof. Dr. Koylan listed twelve lesser-known enemies of heart health:

  1. Time Spent in Traffic: Research shows that spending an hour in traffic increases the likelihood of a heart attack, and high noise levels on highways can also impact heart health. To reduce stress, try listening to relaxing music or sharing the journey with a companion for a conversation.
  2. Unhappy Marriage: According to a study by Michigan State University, elderly adults satisfied with their relationships have a lower risk of heart disease compared to those who are not. The likely cause is stress, which can lead to poor dietary choices and harmful habits like smoking.
  3. Shift Work: A study from Western University in Canada reveals that working nights or irregular hours increases the risk of a heart attack. Shift work is thought to disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, negatively affecting the heart.
  4. Loneliness: People who spend time with loved ones experience less stress and stay more active, which benefits heart health. If you’re not near family or close friends, consider helping someone in need or adopting a pet to build social connections.
  5. Oral Health: People with gum disease are more likely to develop heart disease. It is believed that bacteria from the gums can enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation in the blood vessels and other heart problems.
  6. Early Menopause: Women who enter menopause before age 46 are at twice the risk of heart attack or stroke compared to those who enter menopause later. The decline in estrogen, a hormone with heart-protective effects, is a contributing factor.
  7. Snoring: If your partner regularly reports that you snore or make gasping sounds while sleeping, see a doctor. These symptoms may indicate sleep apnea, a condition that can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, stroke, and heart failure.
  8. Hepatitis C: Researchers believe that Hepatitis C can cause inflammation in body cells and tissues, including those in the heart. Monitor any heart symptoms with your doctor.
  9. Lack of Sleep: Regularly getting less than six hours of sleep per night increases your risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol. It also raises the likelihood of obesity and diabetes, both of which harm the heart. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  10. Belly Fat: Excess weight in any form is bad for your heart, but belly fat is particularly dangerous. It can trigger the production of hormones and chemicals that raise blood pressure. If your waist circumference exceeds 85 cm for women or 100 cm for men, consult a doctor for a diet and exercise plan.
  11. Excessive TV Watching: People who watch a lot of television have a higher risk of heart problems compared to those who limit their screen time. Each hour spent watching TV daily increases your risk of heart disease by nearly 20%. Sitting for prolonged periods is likely the main culprit, linked to issues like high blood pressure.
  12. Excessive Exercise: While exercise is great for your heart, overdoing it, especially if you’re not used to it, can increase the risk of a heart attack. Start slowly and build up your endurance gradually. If you have a high risk of heart disease, discuss your exercise plan with your doctor and consider using a heart monitor during workouts.

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