By now, you know what to do in order to keep your heart healthy: Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce stress, don’t smoke, moderate your alcohol intake, eat healthily, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise. If you do these things, you’re on the right path to a healthy heart.
On the other hand, there are seemingly harmless habits we conduct every day that could be putting our hearts at risk. It’s important to recognize these habits so you can change them and begin to protect your heart even more so.
7 habits that put your heart at risk
Skipping your blood pressure check
Hypertension – high blood pressure – is known as the silent killer because it can exist without any symptoms. This is why it’s so important to check your blood pressure regularly. Even if you’re a healthy individual, you should check your blood pressure routinely to ensure there are no changes. If your doctor has advised you that you have pre-hypertension or hypertension, you should be checking your numbers more frequently.
Relying solely on statins
Statins are a medication aimed to reduce cholesterol. Although they are effective in treating cholesterol, this doesn’t mean you have a free pass to eat an unhealthy diet. You should support your statins further by eating a healthy diet.
Not sleeping enough
Poor sleepers are 23 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease. Sleep deprivation triggers inflammation in the body, which can hurt the heart.
Sitting for prolonged periods throughout the day
Several studies in the last few years have pointed to the fact that a sedentary life is as dangerous as smoking when it comes to your health. So, even if you’re not a smoker, you could still develop serious health problems just by simply not moving. Try to incorporate as much activity into your day as possible. It doesn’t have to be formal exercise in a gym – simply completing chores around the house is good enough to ward off the dangers of prolonged sitting.
Not reducing your stress
Stress, whether you recognize it or not, takes a nasty toll on your overall health, particularly your heart. Do what you can to reduce stress in a positive manner such as meditating, exercising, speaking to someone else, or enjoying your favorite hobby.
Losing weight is good for your heart, but losing it and putting it back on time and time again is quite harmful. Studies show that regaining weight increases the risk of coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death, especially among older women.
Drinking diet soda
Don’t let zero calories fool you, ‘diet’ in soda form doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Consuming diet soda has been shown to be linked with a higher risk of stroke. This is because artificial sugar tricks the body into producing insulin the same way it does when you consume sweets. A general rule is to skip all soft drinks altogether.
Related: Why your heart skips a beat