April 10, 2008

Protect Yourself Against Heart Damage

There are many factors that cause heart damage and many things that can be done to protect a person against it. Things that can affect heart damage include oral health, sleep habits, marriage, family history, and the area where you live.

Studies have found a link between heart diseased and gum disease. It is assumed that bacteria in the mouth penetrate damaged gums, enter the bloodstream, and cause inflammation. It also increases in plaque in the arteries that go to the heart. There is evidence that keeping your mouth healthy can cut the risk of heart disease. Intensive periodontal treatment can cause an improvement in cells lining blood vessels throughout the body, which causes a better and healthier blood flow to the heart. It is recommended to brush teeth twice each day, floss each day, and go to the dentist every six months for regular cleanings.

People that get five hours of sleep or less each night are twice as likely to develop high blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease. When people don’t get enough sleep, their average daily blood pressure and heart rate increases. Not getting enough sleep can also increase the risks of obesity, depression, and diabetes, which are all factors that can increase the chances of developing heart disease. Studies have shown that getting enough sleep each night can lower blood pressure.

If there is constant strain and stress in a relationship, your risk of having a heart attack increases up to 34 percent. A lot of anger and stress can cause a flood of hormones that causes the heart to beat faster and pump harder, causing higher blood pressure and more wearing on the cardiac blood vessels. People in a bad marriage are more likely to eat poorly, drink alcohol more, and smoke, which are things that are bad for the heart.

Family history can increase risks of heart disease. A family history of early heart attack can double the risk of coronary calcification, which is a buildup of calcium in blood vessels that is connected to heart disease, in people between the ages of 30 and 50. Women are more likely to have multiple risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Exercising and eating healthy can still decrease the risks even if there is a family history of heart disease.

People that live in more deprived neighborhoods that don’t have sidewalks, walking trails, and parks have a 20 percent higher risk of heart disease regardless of how rich or educated a person is. These neighborhoods discourage walking and exercise and usually encourage unhealthy eating since they are more likely to have more fast-food restaurants and convenience stores. Something can be done by petitioning officials to add more sidewalks and lights.

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