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Disease prevention and treatment

Things that damage the heart

According to hard data, five harmful habits herald the coming of heart disease. These five are smoking, being inactive, carrying too many pounds, eating poorly, and drinking too much alcohol. Alone and together, they set the stage for artery-damagingatherosclerosis and spur it onward.

Here are eight factors than can affect the heart and what to do about them:

  • Cholesterol.
  • Resting heart rate.
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness.
  • Blood pressure.
  • Blood glucose level.
  • Waist circumference.
  • Heart rhythm.
  • Family history.

Persistent high blood pressure (hypertension) can put extra strain on your arteries and heart, increasing yourrisk of a heart attack. High blood pressure can often be reduced by eating a healthy diet, moderating your alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight and doing regular exercise.

Consult your doctor if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats a minute (tachycardia) or if you're not a trained athlete and your resting heart rateis below 60 beats a minute (bradycardia) — especially if you have other signs or symptoms, such as fainting, dizziness or shortness of breath.

Many folks refrain from drinking at bedtime to avoid getting up overnight. But, cardiologists say there's a good reason to risk a trip to the bathroom and take a drink before bed. A glass of water before sleeping helps reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.22 Sep 2016

They include the following: Pressure, fullness, squeezing pain in the center of the chest, spreading to the neck, shoulder or jaw. Light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness ofbreath with or without chest discomfort. Upper abdominal pressure or discomfort.

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