We are all aware of the common tips for promoting heart health. Eating a balanced diet and frequently exercising are great preventive strategies. However, it pays to know what some unexpected heart attack triggers are, especially if you’re at risk.
Lack of sleep: Not only does sleep deprivation make you tired all day, but it can increase your risk of having a heart attack. A study showed that sleeping less than six hours a night doubles the risk of having a heart attack, compared to sleeping between six and eight.
Migraines: Frequent migraine sufferers are more likely to experience a heart attack later in life.
Cold weather: When you’re outside in very cold weather, your arteries narrow, making it more difficult for blood to reach your heart. Not to mention the fact that your body is already working overdrive to keep itself warm.
Pollution: High pollution levels are linked to an increased heart attack rate. Sitting in traffic can be dangerous. Not only are you angry, but you’re sitting in an area full of car exhaust.
Strong emotions: It’s true, strong negative emotions – fear, stress, anger – can trigger a heart attack, but positive ones can too. Big events like the birth of a child or a wedding can cause really powerful emotions.
Sudden or intense exercise: Studies have found that six percent of heart attacks are caused by extreme physical activity. Make sure not to overdo it.
A cold or flu: The rate at which people have heart attacks has been found to be higher during flu outbreaks, as well as in people who have a cold. When you’re sick, your body goes to work to fight off the bug, which could cause inflammation damaging the heart and arteries. That’s why it’s important to take preventive measures to ensure you don’t get sick too often.
Getting up in the morning: Getting out of bed in the morning causes your brain to release a whole ton of hormones to wake you up, which can put stress on your heart and cause a heart attack.
Alcohol: Studies have found that a drink a day is actually good for your heart—it can reduce the risk of heart attack. However, it’s important to keep it moderate. According to a study, a single night of binge drinking can increase your rate of heart attack over the next week.
Sex: Considering it is physical activity, it can cause a heart attack. The risk is not too high if you eat healthy and exercise, but it is there. If you’re generally unhealthy and have sex, the risk is higher.
Keeping these triggers in mind and adjusting your lifestyle accordingly is not that complicated, but it will greatly benefit your heart health – and your overall health too. If you’re having any problems with your heart, or are having difficulty following these recommendations, be sure to see your doctor.
Related: Can you reverse heart disease?