If you’d like to boost your heart health – and reduce your chances of ending up in the cardiac unit – here are 4 unusual things you should know that can hurt your heart:
- Your commute. Cardiologist Dr. Malissa Wood points out that exposure to heavy traffic — and the fumes that come with it — can double your risk of a heart attack. If possible, change your route to and from work. Even if you have to drive out of your way, driving at speed is healthier than sitting in traffic.
- The flu. Studies show that the risk of a heart attack or stroke increases by 500% when we have the flu! That’s because the inflammation influenza causes can reduce blood flow enough to trigger a cardiac event. So, protect your heart and get your flu shot!
- Psoriasis. Dermatologist Joel Gelfand says that psoriasis isn’t just a skin disease. It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic, system-wide inflammation. And in extreme cases, it’s as hard on your heart as diabetes. So, make sure to discuss your treatment options with your doctor.
- A rocky relationship. Epidemiologist Dr. Roberto De Vogli says that relationship stress raises your risk of a heart attack by 34%. Why? Because people in bad relationships have higher levels of chronic stress hormones. They’re also more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, like smoking, overeating, and consuming too much alcohol.