10 Surprising Risk Factors of Heart Disease

Eating Too Many Sweets Diets that are high in added sugars have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, and sweetened drinks like soda… Aisha Abdullah - February 6, 2023

Eating Too Many Sweets

Diets that are high in added sugars have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, and sweetened drinks like soda and juice are some of the worst culprits. Research shows that consuming too much sugar increases the calorie-storing triglycerides in the body. High levels of triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. High-sugar diets are associated with weight gain, high blood pressure, inflammation, and high cholesterol, all of which contribute to heart disease. It’s important to remember that sugar isn’t inherently bad. Our bodies can’t survive without sugar as an energy source. Natural sugars like those found naturally in fruit, vegetables, and milk are important for our bodies to function. These foods are also a source of other important nutrients.

Added sugars like those found in cakes, candy, and soft drinks don’t have those benefits. And this applies to added sugars with better reputations, such as honey and agave. Added sugar is added sugar, no matter the source. Cutting down on added sugar could help reduce your heart disease risk. The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume no more than three tablespoons (150 calories) of added sugar each day. Ditch the sugary drinks and reduce processed sugar consumption every day.


Getting The Flu

A 2018 study found that people with the flu had a six times higher risk of a heart attack in the week after their infection. That startling finding highlights why it’s much better to prevent infections if possible because even seemingly minor infections can have serious complications. When viral infections, including the flu, travel to the heart, they can cause damage that leads to heart disease. It’s not known exactly how the flu impacts the heart, but we know the infection can increase inflammation, which is a risk factor for heart disease. So doctors recommend that everyone eligible, especially older adults, get their flu shot each year. The shot doesn’t just protect against a nasty seasonal infection; it also protects against an increased risk of cardiovascular conditions.

The flu increases the risk of heart disease by causing inflammation, putting strain on the heart, weakening the immune system, and exacerbating preexisting heart conditions. This can lead to the formation of blood clots, damage to blood vessels, and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. People with heart disease or risk factors for heart disease should get a flu shot and take precautions to reduce their risk of getting the flu. If you do get the flu, get rest and stay hydrated. And if you’re high-risk, ask your doctor about antivirals.


Experiencing Trauma

Traumatic events have a lasting effect on us. While you might think that the impact is limited to the brain, the heart can also bear some of the damage of trauma, even years later. The stress that follows a traumatic event takes a toll on the heart. One study found that women who had experienced three or more traumatic events had an increased risk of heart disease due to abnormalities in their blood vessels. The types of trauma that triggered these health effects included being a survivor of abuse, losing a child, getting in a car accident, and experiencing a natural disaster. According to the American Heart Association, trauma experienced during childhood and adolescence can have lasting negative health effects, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The American Psychological Association recommends the following if you’re struggling to cope with trauma: Take care of yourself. The most important thing you can do after experiencing trauma is to make sure you’re taking care of your basic needs. Make sure that you’re getting enough to eat and eating healthy meals. Try to stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and get some physical activity if you’re able. Give yourself time to heal. Reach out to family and friends. Your loved ones may be able to help you process what you’ve been through or just be a shoulder to cry on. Seek treatment. Mental health professionals can help you get through the aftermath of a traumatic event and give you tools to help you cope. consider seeking counseling if you’re struggling to carry on or maintain relationships.


Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

WebMD – Surprising Things That Lead to Heart Disease

ADA – Cardiovascular disease risk factors

Prevention – 15 Weird Heart Disease Risk Factors, According to Doctors

Texas Heart – Heart Information Center: Heart Disease Risk Factors

Beaumont – Surprising Risk Factors of Heart Disease and How to Avoid Them

Women Health Magazine – 11 Bizarre Factors That Increase Your Risk Of Heart Disease