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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?