When asked to name the causes of heart attack, most people will tell you that unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle are the main culprits. While diet and lifestyle do play a major role in the development of heart problems, there are other lesser-known factors that can jeopardize your heart health.
Here are some of the less-thought-about things that may increase your risk of a heart attack.
In a 2016 study, researchers discovered that people who lived in lower-income neighborhoods could be up to three times more susceptible to heart disease compared to those with similar incomes, jobs and education in wealthier neighborhoods.
At the time, it was the largest prospective study of neighborhood conditions and cardiovascular disease incidence among African American adults and used data from the Jackson Health Study.
Other studies consistently show that if you’re living in an economically distressed neighborhood with high poverty and unemployment rates, you’re more likely to develop cardiovascular risk factors, including:
The way neighborhoods are designed even has an impact. Walkability and access to healthy food options are tied to body mass index, blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and other heart disease risk factors.
In 2019, a study in the European Society of Cardiology linked antibiotics to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in women. Another study tied higher heart disease risk to diabetics who were taking antibiotics.
If you have heart trouble and you are taking this antibiotic, it is best that you talk to your physician about taking alternative medicines.
If you have the flu or another form of respiratory tract infection, you are six times more likely to experience a heart attack during the first seven days following the diagnosis of the infection.
Infections can lead to an inflammatory response, which can in turn result in a heart attack or stroke.
Getting vaccinated for the flu can help you prevent infection-induced heart stress. Flu shots are approved for use in people with heart disease and other health conditions. Flu shots have a long, established safety record in people with heart disease.
Regular screenings help to ensure your heart health is optimal. Our guide “Cardiology Tests That Are Helping Hearts Stay Healthy” will explain how three minimally-invasive tests can predict your risk for heart attack. One of them can predict your risk for up to 10 years.