Your heart is one of the most crucial organs in the body. It continually pumps oxygen enriched blood throughout it. Therefore, it is important that you properly care for your heart and avoid habits that can negatively affect heart health.
The habits and actions that you are currently doing are likely to determine the health of your heart in the future. Let's take a look at 7 habits that can damage your heart.
Sitting too much as well as not being socially active can damage your heart and impact your mental health. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the primary causes of depression, which can impact heart health as well as emotional health.
Individuals suffering from depression may have sticky platelets, which can cause blood clots to form. Furthermore, these sticky platelets can increase the risk of atherosclerosis, which can increase the risk of a heart attack.
You can protect your heart health by adopting an interactive social lifestyle. Get off the couch and begin socializing once more. In the beginning, it may be difficult, however, with time, an active lifestyle will become second nature.
Here are a few ways you can increase your activity levels as well as socializing more:
- Go for a walk with a friend
- Play a team sport like softball, basketball, or volleyball
- Join a club
- Find a workout partner or join a gym
Soon you will be enjoying a lifestyle that is full of life. You will be enjoying spending time and talking with others, laughing often, and becoming more active. All of these will help improve your heart health.
Overindulgence in alcohol
An occasional alcoholic beverage is fine; however, drinking too much alcohol can cause a lot of harm to your heart. Excessive consumption of alcohol has been linked to heart disease. Alcohol raises blood pressure readings, which over time can damage your arteries and heart.
Alcohol is also filled with excess sugar and calories, which can increase triglyceride levels in the body. These excess calories can also cause weight gain and contribute to obesity, which raises the risk of heart disease. Finally, studies have shown that excessive alcohol consumption can disrupt normal heart rhythms.
Moderation is essential when it comes to consuming alcoholic beverages. To protect your heart, drink no more than one serving of alcohol if you are a woman, or no more than two servings of alcohol if you are a man. If you regularly consume more than the recommended amount, it is time to decrease the number of alcoholic beverages you drink to improve heart health.
Consuming too much salt
Sodium, the mineral found in table salt, is regulated by the kidneys. Sodium is used by the body to regulate your kidneys and help balance fluid in the body. In addition to this, sodium is used to send nerve impulses throughout the body. Furthermore, sodium affects how your muscles function.
When you consume too much sodium, it pulls water into your blood vessels, which increases the volume of blood. When excess blood flows through the blood vessels, your blood pressure will increase. Over time, high blood pressure can injure the walls of your blood vessels and lead to atherosclerosis. Additionally, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder, eventually resulting in heart damage.
Salt might be good for your health, but it can be dangerous to your heart when consumed in large amounts. Avoid excess salting your foods. Furthermore, eliminate salty foods from your diet, including chips, processed foods, and canned meat.
If you are like most adults, you are stressed out from trying to juggle work responsibilities and family life. Unfortunately, stress not only affects your mental health, but it can also damage your heart, increase the risk of a stroke, damage your blood vessels, and cause a number of lifestyle diseases that can eventually lead to heart disease.
When you are under stress, your blood pressure increases, which puts strain on your blood vessels and heart and can cause permanent damage. Stress also raises adrenaline and other stress hormone levels. Increased stress hormones have been associated with increased inflammation and weight gain.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to lower your stress levels. Begin by learning how to say no and paring down your activities to decrease stress. In addition to this, you can lower stress by getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. In addition to this, practicing stress reduction techniques like journaling, yoga, and meditation can help decrease your stress levels.
Lack of sleep
Sleep is just as important to the body as healthy eating, stress relief, and exercise. When you sleep, it makes repairs to your organs, tissues, and cells. Experts recommend that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Any less than this amount can be detrimental to your health and your cardiovascular system.
There are several things you can do to improve the amount of sleep that you get. It starts during the evening hours. Approximately 2 hours before bedtime, lower the lights in the main areas of your home and enjoy calming activities like reading a book. As you head to bed, lower your room darkening shades or curtains and lower the temperature by a couple of degrees. Finally, go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning to reset your circadian clock.
Poor eating habits
Healthy eating is key to heart health. The food that you put into your body directly impacts your health. Eating unhealthy foods can increase the risk factors associated with poor heart health, including high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
For best results, you want to eat a well rounded meal. Carbohydrate foods should take one quarter of your plate, another quarter should be used for proteins, and the remaining half should be for fruits and vegetables. Most people tend to overeat, especially when it comes to carbs. By following the suggestions listed above on how to fill your plate, you can limit your carb consumption and improve your heart health.
Smoking is not only bad for your respiratory health, but it is also bad for your heart. We all know the dangers of smoking like lung cancer and many other diseases, but the truth is that smoking is even worse for your heart. Smoking not only affects you, but it also affects those around you. Passive smoking is just as dangerous as smoking when it comes to heart health.
Inhaling cigarette smoke is dangerous for your health. When you smoke, the carbon monoxide from cigarettes decreases the amount of oxygen in your blood. This decrease in oxygen damages your heart. Furthermore, cigarette smoking increases cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you smoke, there are many effective stop smoking techniques available. No matter the smoking cessation product you use, quitting is difficult, but it is not impossible. Although quitting is challenging, it is not as difficult as living with heart disease.
Making lifestyle changes requires dedication and patience; however, the benefits far outweigh the work. There are several ways you can begin to make heart healthy changes. Setting attainable goals can help ensure you remain on task and keep reaching your goal.
Setting attainable goals helps reduce your stress levels. If you become overwhelmed, your stress may seem impossible to control; however, when you make small changes and take it step by step, you will be able to reach your goals.
Break your goals into manageable milestones. When you reach one of these milestones, celebrate your accomplishment. Once your first goal has been reached, you can begin adding other changes to your lifestyle. Over time, you will change your entire life and improve your heart health.