These Seven Heart Health Threats Might Surprise You

Friday, April 5, 2024

The road to longevity is paved with choices that safeguard your heart health.

The heart is not just a muscle; it’s the engine that keeps the body running. You may be surprised to learn that many factors can quietly chip away at heart health, causing serious damage. From seemingly harmless habits to hidden health conditions, here are seven things that can adversely affect your heart health, along with steps you can take to avoid them.

Why does heart health matter?

The heart is responsible for pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body, fueling every cell and organ. When the heart is not functioning well, it can lead to serious and life-threatening health conditions, including:

  • Heart Disease: This encompasses conditions such as coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, and heart valve problems. It can lead to chest pain, heart attacks, and heart failure.
  • Stroke: A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced, often due to a blockage or rupture of a blood vessel. This can cause permanent brain damage or death.
  • High Blood Pressure: Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure forces the heart to work harder to pump blood, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • High Cholesterol: Elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, narrowing them and restricting blood flow to the heart and other organs.

Preserving and monitoring heart health is crucial for a longer, fuller life.

Here are seven surprising things that can adversely affect heart health and what you can do to prevent them:

1.     Immobility

Sitting for long periods can increase the risk of heart disease, even if you exercise regularly. To combat this threat, stand up and move around every hour, whether it's a quick walk around the office or some stretching at home.

2.     Poor Oral Health

Gum disease has been linked to heart disease due to the inflammation and bacteria entering the bloodstream. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly, and don't skip those dental check-ups.

3.     Social Isolation

Studies have shown that loneliness and social isolation can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Make an effort to stay connected with friends and loved ones, whether in person or virtually. Partake in group classes for exercise, art, music, or any pastime that interests you.

4.     Stress

Chronic stress can take a toll on your heart health by raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of heart disease. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation, exercise, or talking to a therapist.

5.     Sleep Deprivation

Not getting enough sleep can disrupt your body's natural rhythms, leading to high blood pressure and increased inflammation, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. Create a soothing bedtime routine and aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.

6.     Excessive Alcohol Consumption

While moderate alcohol consumption may have some cardiovascular benefits, excessive drinking can damage the heart muscle and increase the risk of conditions like high blood pressure and cardiomyopathy. Drink in moderation, if at all.

7.     Poor Diet

Too many unhealthy fats, sodium, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates can contribute to the risk factors for heart disease. Making better dietary choices, such as consuming more fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean proteins, and fiber-rich foods, can help support heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

By being aware of these sneaky factors and taking proactive steps to prevent them, you can protect your heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Even small lifestyle changes can make a big difference in your heart health.

Education is key when it comes to heart health preservation. Vaughn Greene Funeral Services is proud to offer an array of helpful resources and valuable information. If you have questions or wish to make arrangements for a loved one, please reach out to our caring, supportive team anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at

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