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Things That Can Be Ailing Your Heart
by Cheryl Lock
Research has shown that loneliness, depression and even sleep can affect our heart health. Find out more here.
Smoking. Lots of fatty foods. The absence of exercise. These are all things we know aren't good for our bodies, and more specifically our hearts.
There are a few things, however, that might surprise you when it comes to heart health, and more specifically a few things that could actually hinder the health of your heart that you probably wouldn't ever have guessed.
Here are three things to keep in mind that might mean a healthier heart and better overall health.
We know that being lonely is upsetting for many emotional reasons, but as it turns there, there's actually science to back up why loneliness may be affecting our physical health, as well.
According to some studies, people without a strong group of friends or family to rely on tend to be at greater risk of developing heart disease. In fact, living a solitary life may actually be comparable to living with high cholesterol, having high blood pressure and smoking, in some cases.
So to say that making friends is important for your health is one thing, but let's be honest -- when you're an adult, making friends doesn't always come as easily as it used to out on the playground in kindergarten. Hooking up with someone who shares the same beliefs, love of certain activities or interests as you do is a great way to start. Joining a gym for their spinning classes (because you love spinning!), attending a book club meeting at your local library or taking up knitting through a local community center are all good starts. Asking to tag along on your cousins outing with friends and making an attempt to get to know co-workers better are all great ideas, as well.
Whatever your method, just remember the next time you're tempted to stay in and re-watch that episode of Orange is the New Black on Netflix for the tenth time, going out and getting social is good for your heart.
Depression affects many aspects of our well being, and our heart health is certain one of them. In fact, many studies have shown that people who suffer from depression are more likely to get sick, including with heart problems like heart disease.
With an estimated 1 out of 10 Americans ages 18 and older reporting feelings of depression, this is something to be aware of sooner rather than later. So how can you help your heart when you're feeling down? According to Heart.org, you should start with identifying the cause of any stress or anxiety, and addressing it. Whether this means looking for a better job, saying 'no' when you're feeling overwhelmed by commitments, confronting a stressful personal relationship in your life or seeking professional help through something like therapy or counseling, the only way to really get at the root of a problem is by addressing it first, then making attempts to remove the stressor from your life.
3. Lack of sleep
Everyone needs to get the proper amount of sleep in order to help keep us focused and to help provide our cells with the time to rejuvenate and regrow. Did you also know that the amount of sleep you get correlates to your cardiac health, too? Recent studies have shown links between shortened sleep (usually defined as less than six hours) and an increased risk of heart disease. And while the exact connection between sleep length and heart disease isn't exactly understood yet (one study did find a link between shortened sleep and increased coronary artery calcification, though), it certainly wouldn't hurt to try to increase your sleep hours if you're routinely clocking less than six hours a night.
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"Things That Can Be Ailing Your Heart"