If you want to damage your heart, keep doing these 10 things.
1. Keep smoking
A major cause of heart disease, smoking raises blood pressure, causes blood clots and makes it harder to exercise. Heart and circulatory diseases are the leading causes of death for men and women in recent times.
Even though it may be one of the most difficult habits to quit, the rewards of stopping smoking are perhaps the greatest and most immediate.
When you throw away the cigarettes, your heart risk goes down within just a few days of quitting. Within a year, your risk is cut by half. After 10 years of living smoke-free, it’s as if you never smoked at all.
2. Ignore that chest pain
When your heart literally aches and you don’t know why, it’s time to get it checked.
If you have chest pains while exercising, that’s a red flag. If it happens after a heavy meal, it’s more likely to be your stomach causing trouble, but should still be checked out.
If you feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest and you’re breaking out in a sweat, that’s an urgent matter.
3. Just accept that it’s in your genes
Having a family history of heart disease is a strong risk factor for predicting your own chances of heart trouble.
But heart disease isn’t just what you inherit. It’s also what you do about it. You can still beat the odds and dramatically lower your risks by doing other heart-friendly things.
Bottom line: There’s no need to let your family history determine your destiny.
4. Skip your check-up
When you’re not checked out regularly by a doctor, you might not realise if you have some of the silent heart risk factors that are harder to detect.
5. Be a couch potato
Being sedentary increases heart risks. Physical activity helps us live longer.
Exercise helps lower blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, encourages weight loss, benefits blood vessel function, and cuts stress, among other things.
6. Stop taking your medications
If you stop taking your heart medications, you may not feel better or worse afterwards, but you could still be heading for a cardiac catastrophe.
7. Forget your growing waistline – just buy some bigger clothes
If your belt size is slowly getting bigger, that’s something to worry about.
Excess fat tissue in the midsection, giving you an apple-shaped figure, could mean metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors that can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes, through narrowing of the arteries, insulin resistance, and inflammation.
8. Never mind when your heart flutters
A fluttering feeling in your heart that causes chest discomfort, shortness of breath, the feeling you could faint, or actual fainting could be a sign of a heart arrhythmia. That’s an electrical problem with your heart, causing it to beat either too fast, too slow, or just irregularly.
If you feel a flutter for a second and it goes away, that could be due to caffeine, chocolate, asthma, or perhaps side effects of some cough and cold medicine.
9. Let your blood pressure run haywire
A good way to wreck your heart is to leave your blood pressure elevated and untreated.
Allowing blood pressure to get out of hand makes the heart work harder and enlarge, leading to heart failure. It can also cause hardened arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke and other problems.
Even though symptoms of high blood pressure are rare, it’s relatively easy to diagnose. You can even check it yourself with a home blood pressure monitor. Diet, exercise and medication (if needed) can treat high blood pressure.
10. Eat with abandon
Being overweight or obese contributes to heart disease, heart failure and a shorter lifespan.
Aim for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and nuts; low in saturated fat and cholesterol; and with almost no trans fats. This does not mean you need to avoid fat altogether. Fats found in fish, olives and olive oil, nuts, and avocados are heart-healthy and should be eaten in moderation.
Culled from: Webmd