When it comes to heart attack risk factors, you probably know that high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol put you in the danger zone. But these triggers may surprise you:
- A hot temper
If you have a problem with anger, it could raise your risk for heart attacks. One study found that after an angry outburst, people had an 8 times higher risk of having a heart attack within the next 2 hours. Repeated tantrums may raise blood pressure, a big heart attack risk factor. To keep your cool, try deep breathing, regular exercise, or meditation.
- Severe asthma
If your asthma requires you to use medication every day, you may be at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. A study found that people on daily medication for asthma had a 60% higher risk of heart problems.
- A weak grip
If your hand grip is weak, you may have a higher risk for heart attacks, research shows. The lower the strength in your grip, the higher your risk for heart disease and heart attacks. Researchers aren’t sure why there is a connection, but stronger muscles might be linked to better heart health overall.
- Happy hour
Although moderate drinking is linked to a lower risk for heart problems, there are some risks to know about. In people who don’t drink alcohol everyday, the risk for heart attacks rises 72% the first hour after taking a drink, research shows.
And the risk is higher among people who binge-drink. To lower your risk, don’t drink more than 1 or 2 alcoholic beverages a day.
- Skipping the flu shot
Did you know that the flu shot may protect you from heart attacks in the year after you get the vaccine? Research shows that people who get the shot can lower their chances of heart attacks by 36%, while also keeping the flu away!
- Some heartburn drugs
Research shows that medicines known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid – which are used to treat acid reflux, increase the risk of a heart attack by 16%-21%. These drugs lower a substance called nitric oxide, which improves the lining of blood vessels and may reduce heart disease. Another study found that PPIs make the cells in blood vessel walls age much faster.
If you take PPIs to control your heartburn, talk to your doctor about trying a different drug. In the study, heartburn medications known as H2 blockers – such as Pepcid and Zantac – did not increase the risk of heart attacks.
- Migraine headaches
Research shows that the risk of a heart attack or stroke is 50% higher in women who have migraines, bad headaches that can cause nausea or vomiting and make sounds and light hurt. In another study, people who had migraine with aura – when they see flashing lights, stars, or zigzags before the pain starts – had a higher risk for stroke down the road.
Want to know more about your personal risk for heart attacks? Ask your doctor about special tests that take a close look at the health of your heart and blood vessels. They can help you and your doctor zero in on your weak points and start to work on taking better control of your health and your heart.
Go to KnowYourRisk.com to find out more!