Most of us know that high blood pressure and cholesterol can mean trouble for your heart, but there are a lot of risks that most of us aren’t aware of. Here’s a short list:
Gum disease. Dr. Amy Doneen is the medical director of the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center. She says that people who don’t brush and floss properly are twice as likely to have heart trouble. That’s because the same bacteria that causes gum disease can enter your bloodstream, and damage your veins and arteries.
The next heart attack factor is often overlooked but it’s incredibly dangerous: You hang out with a lot of smokers. Experts say that secondhand smoke is actually worse for your heart than high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure. In fact, one study found that living with a smoker nearly doubles a nonsmoker’s chance of heart disease!
And here’s a heart attack risk factor for men: Your bald spot. A study in the British Medical Journal found that men with bald spots are 32-percent more likely to have a heart attack, than men with a full head of hair. That’s because the insulin resistance and inflammation that are hard on your hairline are also hard on your heart.
And this last factor is a better predictor of heart trouble than high blood pressure: Migraine headaches. One long-term study found that migraine sufferers were 40-percent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people who don’t get the debilitating headaches. Scientists are still trying to discover the link between migraines and heart problems, but they already know that anyone who gets migraines can reduce their risk of heart disease by exercising, eating right, and getting regular checkups.