Your mood and sleep patterns could be making you more vulnerable. Here are 7 signs that you may be at risk for a heart attack.
7. Getting angry over nothing may increase your risk of heart attack
Anger could make you more likely to have a heart attack. Researchers at the University of Australia surveyed 313 participants who had had a heart attack. These participants were asked about their level of anger before their heart attack occurred. The researchers found that patients were 8.5 times more likely to have a heart attack within two hours of an intense angry episode, defined as “very angry, body tense, fists or teeth clenched.” So the more likely you are to get angry, the greater the chance that your health will be affected or that you will suffer a heart attack.
6. Spending most of your time in front of a screen increases your risk of heart attack
Yes, that includes the time you spend in front of your computer. A study conducted at the University of London College reports that people who watch television or work on a computer for more than four hours a day have a higher risk of having a heart attack. In addition, long periods of sitting deplete the body’s supply of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that helps reduce body fat and prevent clogged arteries. If you spend most of your day stuck behind a screen, try taking a walk every 20 minutes or try working standing up.
5. If you sleep less than six hours a night, you are at greater risk of having a heart attack
Many adults have trouble getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night. In a recent study, men who slept less than six hours were five times more likely to have a heart attack than men who slept between seven and eight hours a night. Another study from the Jichi Medical School in Japan found that these risks also applied to Japanese women who slept less than six hours.
4. You live in a polluted environment
Smog is as bad for your heart as it is for your lungs. Researchers analyzed hourly air samples taken in South Boston to determine whether exposure to smog affected heart attack patients. They found that exposure to high levels of air pollution increased the odds of having a heart attack by 48%. The risks were 69% greater when people were exposed to high levels of polluted air for 24 consecutive hours.
3. Divorce may increase the risk of heart attack
Divorce breaks the heart – literally. Researchers at Duke University School of Medicine conducted a study of 16,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 80 who had been married at least once in their lifetime. The researchers looked at the participants’ marital status and heart health. At the end of the study, divorced women were 25% more likely to have a heart attack than women who were still married.
In addition, women who were divorced two or more times were 77% more likely to have a heart attack. For men, the risk of having a heart attack remained the same regardless of whether they were married or divorced. However, if they had been divorced at least twice in their lifetime, the risk of having a heart attack increased by 30%.
2. Time change precipitates heart attacks
Researchers at Michigan Hospital observed that the incidence of heart disease increased when switching from standard time to daylight saving time. On the Monday following Daylight Savings Time, these researchers observed a 24% increase in heart attacks. However, the total number of heart attacks remained the same. The researchers concluded that the time change was not the source of the heart attacks.
Rather, the time change caused the heart attacks to occur earlier in these patients. The researchers hypothesized that these heart attacks may have been precipitated by the disruption of the sleep-wake cycle and the increased stress associated with the start of the workweek.
1. Extreme temperatures affect heart attack risk
Studies suggest that extreme cold and intense heat may increase the risk of heart attacks. Analyzing data on heart disease, Worcester scientists observed that exposure to temperatures below 8 degrees Celsius two days before a heart attack increased the risk of having a heart attack by nearly 35%.
In contrast, British researchers found that when the temperature rose above 20 degrees Celsius, each additional 1 degree Celsius increase raised the risk of a heart attack by 2%, up to six hours after the temperature rise. Finally, on the first day of hot weather, the risk jumped to 6.5% for every 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature.