Unfortunately, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States annually. That accounts for one in four deaths. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women; around 735,000 Americans have a heart attack each year.
However, if you're aware of the dangers of cardiovascular problems, you can proactively seek out solutions. Certain measures can reduce the likelihood of heart disease. You may even be able to increase the quality and length of your life if you follow a few rules.
It turns out having a roommate, or even just really close friends, is good for the heart. According to a 2018 study in BMJ, loneliness can increase an individual's risk of heart disease.
Researchers learned socially isolated people are more likely to have heart attacks or strokes, compared to people with strong personal networks. Loneliness, social isolation, or both were associated with a 29% increased risk of heart attack and a 32% greater risk of stroke. Other studies reached similar conclusions.
You know you should brush, floss, and visit the dentist, but did you know your oral hygiene could affect heart health? Researchers believe certain kinds of oral inflammation can lead to hardened arteries, making it hard for blood to flow to the heart. That puts people at greater risk for heart attack and stroke. Dr. Thomas Boyden, Jr. also noted:
Your gums are very vascular, meaning they're full of blood vessels. And, your mouth is full of bacteria. If you disrupt the gum layer even a little bit, you're going to get bacteria in your bloodstream, which can go anywhere and trigger inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is one of the main things that cause damage to blood vessels, including those of the heart.
In case you need a reason to nap or get in a full eight hours of sleep, just know doing so really helps your heart. A European Heart Journal review of 15 medical studies involving almost 475,000 subjects concluded there's a 48% increased risk of coronary heart disease for people who don't sleep enough. Their chances of having strokes increase, too.
A lack of sleep doesn't necessarily cause heart disease, but it may increase certain risk factors like high blood pressure.
Intimate relations can decrease chances of heart disease or heart attacks. Sex typically reduces stress, and stress often negatively affects heart health.
Stress is relatively unavoidable, but when it's constant, the body isn't able to refresh; it releases adrenaline. Then the heart rate speeds up, and blood pressure rises. Relaxing activities can help alleviate those issues.