8 Bad Habits That Put Your Heart at Risk

Heart disease claims more than one million lives per year, making it the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. This year, more than 920,000 American will have a heart attack; nearly half of them will occur without prior symptoms or warning signs.

The good news is that some simple, everyday habits can help you lower your risk for heart disease and live a healthier life.

Below are the “heartbreakers”; the worst habits that put your heart at risk and some recommendations on how to deal with them.


Even if you exercise regularly, sitting in front of a TV for hours each day can put you at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.

Recommendation: Instead, try to walk around periodically and stand up when on the telephone.


How you handle stress, depression and hostility can take a toll on your heart. Those who internalize emotions are at a higher risk.

Recommendation: Find someone you can discuss stressful issues with. Research proves that laughter and social support provide benefits to your health.


Snoring can be a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a condition that can lead to high blood pressure if left untreated. This leads to a higher risk of heart disease.

Recommendation: If you snore and often awake feeling tired, consult with your physician. They can perform a simple screen to determine if your snoring is affecting your heart (as well as your spouse!).


Although the exact reason isn’t known, there is a strong link between gum disease and heart disease. One theory is that the build-up of plaque initiates the inflammation process in the body. Inflammation is the primary cause of atherosclerosis.

Recommendation: Floss! A simple two minutes each day can save your heart.


Diving head first into an exercise routine with goals set too high can lead to failure. Exercise has many benefits to heart health.

Recommendation: Start off exercise regiments slow and build up gradually. It is better to keep a constant exercise schedule than to burn yourself out and stop exercising all together.


People with strong connections to family, friends and society tend to live longer and more healthy lives.

Recommendation: Stay in touch with those whom you enjoy. They probably miss you!


There are studies that suggest a small amount of alcohol consumption can be beneficial to heart health. However, if you overdo it, you are actually causing harm to your health. Excess alcohol is linked to greater risk of high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats and heart failure.

Recommendation: Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

So get off the couch and start living! By following the above recommendations, you can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease, heart attack and death,

About the author

Jennifer Blackmon, RN
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Jennifer is the Heart Failure Coordinator for Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, where she focuses on educating patients and staff to reduce readmissions. In her spare time, she enjoys quality time with family and friends.

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8 Bad Habits That Put Your Heart at Risk