Nearly one of every four deaths is due to heart disease. While some people are more prone to heart disease due to genetics, several lifestyle factors can increase the risk of a heart attack. Learn more about bad habits for your heart and see how to reduce your risk.

Bad Habits For Your Heart

coffee heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, and more than 370,000 people die of coronary heart disease every year. While many factors are responsible for heart disease, your lifestyle and daily routine can play a significant role in the health of your heart.

Learn more about the worst habits for your heart health and ways to reduce your risk of heart disease and heart attacks.

Too Much Sitting

Whether you’re a freelance writer, work in a corporate office, or even just like to binge watch your favorite shows on the weekend, you might be spending too much time sitting down. Living in a society that sits too much is bad for your health in a number of ways, but it can cause damage to your heart.

According to the American Heart Association, people who sit for five hours or more a day are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular issues such as heart failure.

in suit while sitting

If your job depends on sitting in front of a computer and at a desk for eight hours a day, make sure that you’re getting up frequently to walk to the bathroom, grab something from the printer, or just to make a quick loop around the cubicle.

Getting up and moving around for a few minutes at a time can help keep your blood flowing; five minutes per hour can help keep your heart healthier. You may also want to consider doing exercises at your desk or see if you can get a standing desk.


Your Alcohol Consumption

Every few years there seems to be conflicting information regarding alcohol consumption. While most people know that drinking too much is unhealthy, some don’t know how much is too much, and others think that some types of alcohol are “healthier” than others (such as red wine vs. hard liquor).

Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis is one of the many bad habits for your heart. For most people abstaining from alcohol is the healthiest choice, but if you do plan on drinking alcohol,

 it’s important to know about the recommended amounts for men and women, including age demographics.

Some studies show that drinking in moderation may help reduce certain health risks, but drinking too much (even your recommended amount at one time on a Friday night) can increase your risk of heart problems and other serious health issues. If you plan on drinking, moderation is key.

You’re Stressed Out and Sleep Deprived

Do you have a project due at work? Are you dealing with some family issues? There’s a good chance that you’re dealing with stress and as a result, you might be losing a good night’s sleep as well.

Most people get stressed every so often, but if you suffer from chronic stress, you’re increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke because the blood vessels in your heart are more prone to damage.

stress woman

Sleep is also essential to the health of your heart (as well as the rest of your body). If you don’t get enough quality sleep, your cardiovascular system doesn’t get a chance to rest, which can cause irreparable damage over time.

Even though stress affects everyone differently, it’s essential to manage it, so it’s not one of your bad habits. Find ways to relax or consider talking to someone about your feelings.

biting carrot

You Don’t Take Care of Your Teeth and Gums

Slacking off on your oral health is one of the bad habits that can negatively affect the health of your heart. Whether you’re in the habit of only brushing your teeth once a week, not going to the dentist, or skipping flossing, not only are you hurting your teeth and gums but you’re also putting your heart’s health at risk.

If you have poor oral hygiene habits, you could have inflammation and bacteria in your gum line and if left untreated can lead to bigger issues such as heart disease.

You Don’t Think That Heart Issues Can Affect You

Are you an active Millennial or a healthy Gen-Xer? You might think that you’re too young for heart problems. While cardiovascular disease is more common in older adults, most heart issues are a result of damage over time.

The decisions you make now, such as diet, exercise, and how you manage stress, can determine how healthy your heart will be in just a few decades. Not only should you do your best to have a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle, but it’s important to have preventative screenings at the recommended ages or at your doctor’s request.

sudden death on the playing field
sleeping man

You Snore

Lots of people snore and you might think that it’s not technically one of the bad habits. While you might have little control over snoring, you can control how you deal with reducing the snore. Most people who snore suffer from sleep apnea, which can cause spikes in one’s blood pressure.

If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, visit your doctor. There are ways to treat sleep apnea, but it won’t go away on its own so you need to make lifestyle changes and follow your doctor’s recommendations.

You Avoid Being Social

After a long week of work, you might want to lay low, stay home, and avoid socializing with others. While everyone deserves a little quiet alone time, making your solitary ways a habit can be hard on your heart.

Catching up with an old friend or having dinner with your parents once a week is good for your mind and heart. You don’t have to be a social butterfly, but don’t forget to connect with people who make you happy now and then. If you don’t have anyone to connect with, it’s time to make a few new friends.



You Aren’t Consistently Healthy

Do you push yourself to exercise and eat healthy for a month, burn out, and then fall back into poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle? The key to becoming healthy and staying healthy is to ease into it and to be moderate.

If you push yourself too hard not only are you more prone to quitting or not finding enjoyment in exercise or healthy eating, but you might end up becoming injured. It’s never too late to turn unhealthy habits into healthy ones but take your time and go easy on yourself.

You Still Smoke

While tobacco use is less prevalent as it was even a decade ago, tobacco addiction is hard to quit especially when it comes to cigarettes. Some long-time smokers quit cigarettes only to enjoy an occasional cigar.

Everyone knows that smoking can lead to serious lung health issues, but the health of your heart is equally at risk. If you smoke, quit for good. If you live with a smoker or hang around people who do, try to help them quit. There are plenty of free and effective resources that help people end their tobacco dependency every year. Quit for your lungs and heart.


You’re Overweight

The extra weight you carry may not necessarily be a bad habit, but some of the decisions you have made in your life are likely to play a role in the extra pounds. Losing weight can be a challenge, but even losing five percent of your weight can lower your blood pressure and make it easier for your heart to function.

You Don’t Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

Busy schedules, stress, lack of ambition, and living alone can all contribute to why people don’t eat a well-balanced diet. Maybe you aren’t a fan of fruits and vegetable or maybe going out to eat is more convenient.

Eating a well-balanced diet is not difficult, but it does take a little more planning and being more mindful of what you’re putting on your plate. Tracking your food and reading labels can help you with your caloric intake and counting how much sodium and fats you consume.

Don’t know your way around a kitchen or how to shop for healthy choices? An in-store nutritionist can give you some great advice and take a cooking class (or even watching cooking videos online) can help you become excited about making heart-healthy food.

unhealthy food

A Few Final Tips

A bad habit may not be broken overnight, but be patient with yourself and don’t give up. Here are some tips to help you stay more heart healthy:

  • Visit your doctor annually
  • Find some workout buddies
  • Eat dinner with friends
  • Sign up for classes or a hobby
  • Try meditation or yoga
  • Learn how to forgive and let go
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Let go of self-doubt
  • Remember that it’s never too late to be healthier
  • Seek support from family and friends
  • Get healthier as a family

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