Each and every year heart disease kills millions of people around the globe.
In fact, it’s the leading cause of death, 40% of deaths in the US are caused by heart disease, and in many cases it’s completely preventable.
The solution is relatively simple in theory, eat healthy, manage stress, and exercise.
However, putting those words of wisdom into practice can be tricky.
It’s particularly challenging because there are so many factors that affect the health of your heart – from good sleep to the type of foods you eat and how you exercise.
Let’s explore some of the little known facts about heart disease to help you take better care of your health.
#1 The Silent Killer. Since 1984, heart disease has killed more women every year than men. It’s more deadly to women than all types of cancer combined.
And when women have a heart attack, they don’t often understand their symptoms.
For many women the symptoms of a heart attack feel a lot like the flu. Common symptoms include nausea, indigestion, and shoulder aches.
Men generally experience chest pain.
#2 Getting a flu shot cuts your risk for a heart attack or stroke by up to 50 percent.
What’s the connection between your heart health and the flu? According to physicians at Harvard Medical School, when you get the flu, your body has a significant immune response, which causes inflammation.
This inflammation causes the plaque inside your blood vessels to become unstable and cause blockages and potential heart attacks.
Additionally, changes in your lungs from the flu virus lower blood oxygen levels. Your heart has to work harder to deliver the same amount of oxygen to your brain and tissues.
Finally, the flu virus can directly damage heart muscle cells.
#3 The Diabetes Link. The vast majority of heart attacks, seventy percent, are caused by insulin resistance – the same cause of type 2 diabetes.
Don’t know your glucose levels? At risk for diabetes or already have diabetes? There are things you can do to take control of your health.
A healthy diet and exercise are essential and can reverse type 2 diabetes and reduce your risk of a heart attack.
Learn your risk by having a few tests done. Knowledge is power.
#4 The Stress Connection. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that stress has an impact on heart health.
However, you may be surprised to learn that you’re more likely to have a heart attack on Monday morning than at any other time of the week.
Additionally, women who go on vacation at least twice a year less likely to suffer a heart attack or die from heart disease.
#5 Laugh More, Eat Dark Chocolate, and Have Sex. All three of these joys of life have a positive impact on heart health. They’re certainly a fun way to stay healthy.
Heart disease may be the number one killer but it doesn’t have to be your story. Talk to your doctor, know your risk and take steps today to begin to reduce your risk.
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