February is Heart Month sponsored by the American Heart Association, and February 3rd is National Wear Red Day. It’s a great time to assess where you stand with your heart health while raising awareness among your family and friends.
We know that decreasing your risk factors for a heart attack includes:
- A healthy diet with lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, and lean protein
- Regular exercise
- Not indulging in nicotine
- Getting regular check ups
Less Discussed Risk Factors
Don’t be misled by believing that only smokers, the obese, or those over 50 are at risk for heart attacks. Women of any age that have had their uterus removed have a 3 times greater risk of heart attack or stroke than those whose reproductive organs are intact. If the ovaries were also removed, the risk increases to 5.5 times that of a healthy woman of the same age.
Up to 10% of all heart attacks happen to men younger than 45. The same coronary artery disease (CAD) that causes the devastation in older adults causes most of the heart attacks in young men. However, some premature heart attack victims have defects in an artery, clotting anomalies, artery spasms or inflammation. And many of them may have anger management issues.
Anger Can Break Your Heart
Research indicates that stress, anger, and a short fuse are as much a risk factor for a heart attack as obesity, smoking, or a sedentary lifestyle. We have known that a high stress life can help lead to a heart attack, but long term studies indicate that high levels of anger and cynicism take that risk to a much higher level in men 20-45.
Hostile feelings cause the liver to dump cholesterol into the bloodstream. Anger also causes your liver to release a chemical called catecholamine. This chemical cause fat deposits to build up faster in the heart and arteries. Learning to live without anger may decrease your chances of a heart attack by decreasing the amount of cholesterol your liver releases. A side effect of this potential increase in longevity is that you will be happier, and so will those around you.
Show your support for America’s heart health by dressing a little early for Valentine’s Day this year. Wear red on February 3rd, and show a little heart.
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