Unexpected heart attack triggers

The little known factors that can put your heart at risk.

Unexpected heart attack triggers

Some heart attack risk factors, such as obesity and smoking, are common knowledge, but there are also other little known factors that can put your heart at risk. Here are some things to consider when thinking about your heart health.

Sex
A meta-analysis of four studies analysing mostly men in their 50s and 60s found that sex was linked to a 2.7 increased relative risk of heart attack compared to periods when the participants weren't having sex. Doctors still think the benefits of sex far outweigh the risks, but they do recommend trying to stabilise your heart health before engaging in any activity between the sheets.

Insomnia
If you don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, you raise your risk of a heart attack. In one study, researchers found that people who usually slept fewer than six hours a night were twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who slept six to eight hours a night.

Migraine headaches
People who get these are more likely to have a heart attack later in life than those who do not. Migraine headaches that include auras – strange sights, sounds, or feelings that start before the headache hits – seem to have a stronger link to heart problems.

Pollution
Heart attacks are more common when air pollution levels are high. People who breathe dirty air on a regular basis are more likely to have clogged arteries and heart disease. Sitting in traffic may be especially dangerous, because it can combine car fumes with anger or frustration.

Angry outbursts
A recent study of 313 heart attack patients published by scientists in Sydney found that a heart attack was 8.5 times more likely to happen two hours after an intense bout of anger than after an average two hour period.

Asthma
People who suffer from asthma may tend to ignore chest tightness, one of the key early warning signs of heart trouble. Your chances of having a heart attack go up about 70 per cent if you have this lung disease.

Colder weather
Being outside in the winter months can cause your arteries to narrow, making it harder for blood to reach your heart. On top of that, your heart has to work harder to keep your body warm.

The common cold
When your immune system fights off a bug, it can cause inflammation that can damage your heart and arteries. In one study, people with respiratory infections were twice as likely to have a heart attack. But their risk level went back to normal after they’d been clear of the infection a few weeks. This makes an annual flu shot an important factor in reducing your risk of heart attack.

Have you ever suffered a heart attack? What triggered your heart episode?

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Charlie
    29th Dec 2017
    10:40am
    This talks about the "relative risk" for heart attack of 2.7 after having sex. Ok how risky is relative risk?

    Then it talks about heart attack after anger, being 8.5 times more likely to happen.

    Is the measurement method of risk for these two events, the same or different?
    MICK
    29th Dec 2017
    11:49am
    I suggest that many 'studies' are flawed and the statistics they come up with need to be taken with a rather large grain of salt. Oh yes...salt bad for the heart. Ouch.
    Believe only 10% of what you read.
    Rosret
    29th Dec 2017
    12:33pm
    Always an embarrassing way to die. But look at it this way - if the room is warm, you don't feel angry and you don't have a cold you are laughing!
    mikef
    29th Dec 2017
    11:19am
    It means your are better to have more sex and get less angry - sensible advice I'd say!

    Relative risk is statistical term to express how the likelihood of something is affected by something else, but one would need to read the papers for other than a general interpretation, but knowing how anger raises the BP etc it would seem likely to be true.
    Puglet
    29th Dec 2017
    1:27pm
    Exactly! Consensual sex with someone from the same age group makes for a happier, more relaxed life. It’s worth remembering that Bill Sneddon died from a heart attack while making love to his son’s much younger ex-partner. There’s probably worse ways to die - having fun, with little pain and quickly. Bill wasn’t embarrassed but his relatives and party were!
    Tib
    30th Dec 2017
    5:53pm
    Consensual sex with someone young and attractive is much better than having sex with some grandma.
    Tib
    29th Dec 2017
    11:21am
    There you go ladies if you want get rid of the old man. Sex is an effective weapon. :)
    Hawkeye
    29th Dec 2017
    1:09pm
    Nah Tib.
    The constant knock-backs make me angry. And according to the above, that's a much more effective weapon
    Hawkeye
    29th Dec 2017
    1:22pm
    But then again, maybe the wife will go before me, judging by the amount of headaches she seems to get
    Tib
    29th Dec 2017
    1:50pm
    Sshh I almost had them convinced. ;)
    Anonymous
    29th Dec 2017
    3:08pm
    Women's constant nagging leading to angry outbursts will do it.
    The Other Judith
    29th Dec 2017
    11:27am
    I had a heart attack 21 years ago when I couldn't stop being angry for about a week due to medication I was on. I have never had any heart problems since but have mostly given up anger since then as it is always a personal choice to be angry (unless medication messes with the body's emotional responses).
    musicveg
    29th Dec 2017
    4:47pm
    It can also be a nutritional deficiency, especially magnesium and B vitamins.
    Old Geezer
    29th Dec 2017
    11:54am
    Good heavens we are all going to die of heart failure one day as that is what keeps us alive.
    Hawkeye
    29th Dec 2017
    1:14pm
    Agree with you OG (never thought that would happen)

    But the biggest cause of death is birth.
    Everyone who has ever been born is either dead or heading ever closer towards it
    Polly Esther
    29th Dec 2017
    1:35pm
    Yes, the name of the game is to keep the grim reaper cooling his heels for as long as is possible.
    I remember the hearse on some days passing slowly through my town and the school boys removing their caps, copying the men who doffed their hats. It seemed someone would always ask, "I wonder who died", and someone would answer, "the person in the coffin", followed by "the poor beggars heart stopped beating".
    And as you point out the old reaper always wins :-)))
    Julian
    29th Dec 2017
    12:12pm
    Relative risk is the result of dividing the probability of one event occuring by the probability of it not occuring. In this case 2.7 is a little misleading as we're accustomed to seeing risk increase or reduction in percentages. In real terms it's 2.7 times more likely to the control group or baseline.
    Puglet
    29th Dec 2017
    12:44pm
    The highest risk factors for a coronary are: obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of exercise, diet, hypertension and genetics. Everything in this article is related to the above. It is plain silly to write that viruses that cause common colds may result in a coronary, only one pretty poor study showed this! It’s even sillier to say how important it is to have a flu shot - it doesn’t prevent colds and anyway this year’s flu shot didn’t work well for the over 65s. On the other hand we’d be better off having lots of sex followed by a brisk walk (or vice versa).
    Hawkeye
    29th Dec 2017
    1:18pm
    Puglet, you mustn't put much effort in to your sex if you can go for a brisk walk after after it
    ex PS
    29th Dec 2017
    6:03pm
    I thought standard procedure after sex was to roll over and go to sleep.
    plodder
    29th Dec 2017
    12:58pm
    as Woodrow Wilson explained..

    there are lies,..... damned lies...and then statistics.

    they forgot to mention cleaning your teeth. or was that in the last "shock report"?
    Anonymous
    29th Dec 2017
    3:10pm
    Actually, "lies, damned lies, and statistics" is attributed to Samuel Clements (a.k.a. Mark Twain).
    ex PS
    29th Dec 2017
    6:05pm
    I reckon that particular description has been used by many people, many times over. To say Woodrow Wilson said it is not taking anything away from Mark Twain.

    29th Dec 2017
    3:07pm
    Good thing I'm celibate...
    Jim
    29th Dec 2017
    3:34pm
    The symptoms of heart attacks need to be clearly explained, I had two heart attacks earlier this year, the first one was on a Friday and I had what I thought was indigestion, after spending about 6 hours in emergency, the enzymes in my blood were slightly raised, the doctor attending me believed I had a slight heart attack, I convinced them I was OK so they let me go home, on the following Monday I again had severe indigestion, or so I thought, this time the enzymes in my blood were extremely elevated, I was sent down for an angiogram which showed one of my arteries was completely blocked and two others were 80% blocked and I had to have 3 stents inserted, which saved my life, I thought when you had a heart attack you went down in a screaming heap with severe chest pain, I had none of those symptoms. I should have listened to the doctors, maybe we should have some expert to provide us with some educational tools to help us recognise the signs.
    KSS
    29th Dec 2017
    3:56pm
    A good reminder Jim and women have very different symptoms to men too. Given that heart attacks are the leading cause of death in women it would behove all of us to know the signs and symptoms of heart attacks in both men and women so we can recognise them and get help in good time. Time really is of the essence in surviving a heart attack.

    Let's leave the dramatics to the actors!
    KB
    29th Dec 2017
    4:14pm
    Always get chest pain checked even if you think it is indigestion
    musicveg
    29th Dec 2017
    4:51pm
    None of these things 'cause' heart attacks, it is just they are more likely to happen then. The real cause is bad diet, lack of exercise, stress and pollution. Plant based diet, some exercise, get stress out of your life, and live in a cleaner environment especially getting rid of chemicals in your home and on your body.
    Rosret
    29th Dec 2017
    5:19pm
    Actually the main cause is age. We will all die and the best way to say goodbye is with the heart stopping.
    musicveg
    29th Dec 2017
    6:32pm
    But some people want to suffer and die early just because of their chose lifestyle, putting a burden on the health system. Even children are showing signs of heart disease these days from the rubbish they eat and drink.
    Rosret
    29th Dec 2017
    7:33pm
    Yep. I don't blame "people" though. I blame the providers of the junk food.
    musicveg
    29th Dec 2017
    7:55pm
    How can you not blame people, it is their choice? If people stopped buying it they won't make it, supply and demand.
    Hawkeye
    29th Dec 2017
    4:59pm
    Had at least 2 heart attacks that I am aware of, along with hundreds of arrhythmia incidents.
    NO CHEST PAIN during any of them.

    Don't wait to feel chest pains.
    Check out ANY unusual sensations in your upper body, even just tired or aching arms (that's the closest I've ever felt to chest pains)

    And if that indigestion won't go away with a bit of antacid, then IT AINT INDIGESTION
    Tib
    29th Dec 2017
    5:15pm
    If I had a choice between a heart attack or cancer , I pick a quick heart attack!
    Old Geezer
    29th Dec 2017
    11:11pm
    Having had cancer twice I am more fearful of a heart attack.
    Tib
    30th Dec 2017
    5:56pm
    Not me.
    alinejordan
    29th Dec 2017
    10:25pm
    if you're in pain in your upper body try quickease and aspirin! worked for me the first time. the second time i was surfing, dragged myself up the stairs and to the next grocery shop where i asked for ... you guessed it, quickease and aspirin. the ambulance came quite a while later while i was collapsing on their floor, in my wetsuit! one stent and 3 years later i'm still here having a good giggle about it!
    Old Geezer
    29th Dec 2017
    11:12pm
    Aspirin is probably what saved you.
    hippy
    30th Dec 2017
    2:15pm
    Hey Knows-a-lot, if you listened to your wife the first time, she would not have to nag!!!! :)
    Tib
    30th Dec 2017
    5:55pm
    Knows-a-lot you should practice not listening at all. Problem solved. :)
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2018
    11:08am
    Hippy, I'm too smart to have a wife. I never married, thank good.
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2018
    5:22pm
    Hippy, I'm too smart to have a wife. I never married, thank God.


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles