Everyone wants to have a healthy heart. The good news is that some simple, everyday habits can make a big difference in your ability to live a healthy lifestyle. Here are the 10 worst habits for your heart, and how to avoid them.
Watching TV 久坐看电视 Sitting for hours on end increases your risk of heart attack and stroke, even if you exercise regularly. “Intermittent exercise doesn’t compensate for the time you sit,” says Harmony R. Reynolds, MD, associate director of the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center in New York City. Why? The lack of movement may affect blood levels of fats and sugars. Dr. Reynolds advises walking around periodically and, if you’re at work, standing up to talk on the phone.
Leaving hostility and depression unchecked 忽略不良情绪
Are you feeling stressed, hostile, or depressed? It can take a toll on your heart. While everyone feels this way some of the time, how you handle these emotions can affect your heart health. “Those likely to internalize stress are in greater danger; research has shown a benefit to laughter and social support,” Dr. Reynolds says. “And it’s helpful to be able to go to someone and talk about your problems.”
Withdrawing from the world 与世隔绝 It’s no secret that on some days, other human beings can seem annoying, irritating, and just plain difficult to get along with. However, it makes sense to strengthen your connections to the ones you actually like. People with stronger connections to family, friends, and society in general tend to live longer, healthier lives. Everyone needs alone time, but you should still reach out to others and keep in touch whenever you can.
Drinking (too much) alcohol 饮酒过量 Sure, studies suggest a small amount of alcohol may be good for your heart. Excess alcohol is linked to a greater risk of high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats, and heart failure. In addition, the extra calories can lead to weight gain, a threat to heart health. If you drink, stick to no more than two drinks per day for men, and no more than one a day for women. (One drink means a 12-ounce beer or 4-ounce glass of wine).
Overeating 过度饱食 Being overweight is a major risk factor for heart disease. Try to eat less, avoid oversize portions, and replace sugary drinks with water. Doctors also suggest cutting portion sizes for high-calorie carbohydrates (refined pastas and breads) and watching out for foods labeled “low-fat,” which are often high in calories.
Smoking or living with a smoker 吸烟/二手烟 Sure, you’ve heard it a million times before: Don’t smoke. “Smoking is a total disaster for your heart,” says Dr. Ostfeld. Smoking promotes blood clots, which can block blood flow to the heart, and contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. It’s also a smart bomb aimed at everyone around you, Dr. Ostfeld says. In fact, about 46,000 nonsmokers who live with a smoker die from heart disease each year because of secondhand smoke.
Stopping or skipping meds 不按时服药 Let’s be honest: Taking pills is a pain. There can be side effects. And it’s easy to forget your meds, especially if you feel fine. “High blood pressure is called the silent killer because you don’t feel it,” Dr. Ostfeld says. “Saying you feel fine is not a justification for stopping these pills.” There are 30 types of high blood pressure medications, so there are choices if one isn’t working, Dr. Hochman says. “If one medication doesn’t work, we can try something else.”
Being a salty snacker 食盐量超标 The more salt you consume, the higher your blood pressure rises. “Steer clear of packaged junk food, read the labels for sodium content, and stick to the outer portions of the supermarket, which is where the fruits, vegetables, and (unsalted) nuts are,” Dr. Ostfeld says. Most of us should keep sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams a day. If you have high blood pressure or are over 50, cut back to 1,500 milligrams.
Avoiding fruits and vegetables 不吃水果蔬菜 “The most heart-healthy diet is a plant-based diet”, Dr. Ostfeld says. That means loading up on fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and protein, and keeping junk food to a minimum. Research has found that people who eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day had about 20% lower risk of heart disease and stroke than people who ate less than three servings per day.
Ignoring physical symptoms 忽略身体信号 If you used to walk up three flights of stairs without a problem, but suddenly you’re short of breath after one flight or have chest pressure, it’s time to call your doctor—now. Doctors say “time is muscle”, meaning the quicker you get treatment for possible trouble, the less likely you are to have permanent damage to your heart muscle. “It’s better for it to be much ado about nothing than sitting on a heart attack for six hours,” which is not uncommon, Dr. Ostfeld says.
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