Bad Habits that Will Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease (And How to Change Them)

In Singapore, about fifteen people suffer from heart disease every day. One of the most common causes of heart diseases is atherosclerosis, which is the clogging of the arteries by the rupturing of plaque, resulting in clotting and severe restriction of blood flow.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to heart disease, many of which are preventable and can be improved. Here are a few that can be changed in order to minimize the risk of heart disease without having to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist for heart screening:

1. Lack of Proper Stress Management
Stress is an essential mechanism that allows us to cope with pressure in certain situations. When a person is stressed, cortisol is formed in the brain as a “fight-or-flight” response hormone, which increases blood sugar while breaking down fats and carbohydrates.

However, being angry or being exposed to stress for extended periods of time can actually be harmful to your body. Not only can unrelieved stress inflict damage to your arteries, but it can also complicate or cause other factors to contribute to potential heart disease.

The build-up of cortisol in the bloodstream also has other effects, such as decreased mental function, Stress management that doesn’t rely on smoking or drinking will do your body wonders in the long run.

2. Not Eating Breakfast/Having a Poor Diet
Believe it or not, having a healthy heart isn’t just about what you eat (i.e. fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), but also about when you eat.

Many studies suggest that people who eat breakfast regularly or more frequently compared to non-eaters tend to be at lower risk of heart disease and are at lower risk of having high cholesterol levels as well as high blood pressure.

Your diet can also increase your risk of developing heart disease according to cardiac specialists from Singapore especially if it consists of an unhealthy amount of salts, fats, and oils. To minimize this risk, switch instead to a diet rich in fibers, such as fruits and vegetables, and avoid or minimize your daily intake of red meat.

3. Drinking
While alcohol itself has no direct effect on the heart, it is essentially made up of empty calories and causes high blood pressure to rebound the day after. Not only does this make your heart susceptible to abnormal rhythm, but this also increases the heart’s susceptibility to muscle weakness and, if not treated early enough, even muscle damage.

Despite this, the occasional glass of red wine can still do you wonders, provided that you drink in moderation.

4. Smoking
The effects of smoking are primarily attributed to your lungs. However, they could also affect your heart via the blood vessels that channel blood through your respiratory system as well as your entire body. Second-hand smoke is also considered to be more toxic than first-hand smoke.

Both smoking and drinking are highly addictive and take a lot of discipline and willpower to change. It isn’t surprising that a lot of former smokers or drinkers trying to quit relapse at least once or find a lot of difficulty in trying to quit for good.

To get you started on quitting, a quick visit to a heart specialist or heart doctor will tell you the dangers of excessive smoking and drinking with one or two X-rays or a brief story about a patient that they had previously encountered.

5. Sleeping Late/Not Getting Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep could also result in high cortisol levels in a person’s system similar to prolonged stress. Not only does this result in a reduced motor function or feelings of anxiety or depression in the short term, but can also place a strain on the heart in the long term.

The recommended amount of sleep for adults is between seven and nine hours. The best way for you to know how much sleep you need is by simply writing down the time you go to sleep and the time you wake up.

6. Not Getting Enough Exercise
Lack of physical activity could also increase your chances of developing a heart disease, as the high cholesterol and deposits of body fat can build up and potentially clog major arteries and blood vessels.

The build-up of fat in your arteries is otherwise known as “plaque”, and is one of the most common causes of atherosclerosis.

Intense physical activity, such as exercise, can not only process the deposits of body fat and cholesterol in your bloodstream, but also increase your cardiovascular endurance and minimize this risk in the future.

On Regular Heart Screening
While you may not be diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease until you suffer from a heart attack, it’s important that you see a cardiologist in Singapore and schedule a heart screening on a regular basis.

There are many different procedures which a cardiologist to monitor vital signs or any anomalies in your cardiovascular system, such as irregular rhythms, or even high or low blood pressure. Singapore also has many competent specialists, so finding the best cardiologist or cardiology center for you should not be a problem.

This is because heart screening is readily available in a cardiology center in either a government hospital or at a private clinic, where a heart specialist or heart doctor will monitor any signs or anomalies and prescribe you the necessary medications as well as lifestyle changes in order to minimize risks.