Heart disease: 7 risk factors and how to protect yourself

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Heart disease: 7 risk factors and how to protect yourself

It is the most complex muscle of the human body. A kind of superhero of our body that beats an average of 3 million times in a lifetime, and every day will pump 9,000 liters of blood. Good reasons to pamper this king of muscles! But in our everyday life, many circumstances, bad habits, attack him. Here are some enemies of the heart to learn to be wary of, and our solutions to protect themselves at best.

Dental problems

The threat : " Tartar or caries are true boosters of atheromatous disease "Pathology where the arterial walls are altered by fatty deposits, says Professor Claire Mounier-Véhier *, cardiologist and head of the Department of Vascular Medicine and Hypertension at the Heart Institute Lung CHU Lille and President of the French Federation cardiology (FFC). " It is also a gateway for endocarditis, an infectious disease of heart valves, very serious. All infections of oral origin (untreated caries, damaged teeth, altered gums, periodontitis) send germs to weakened organs, lungs, kidneys, eyes, joints, bones, and ... heart! "

Our antidotes: " As soon as we have a very bad tooth, or a filling that pops, we must quickly consult, continues the specialist. And make a descaling every year because tartar accumulates bacteria. In case of known cardiac pathology, dental hygiene must be particularly strict. ".

Physical inactivity

The threat : " Sitting is the new smoking Say the Americans! " In 2008, according to WHO, there were more deaths by sedentary lifestyle (5.3 million) than by smoking (5.1 million) "Insists Professor François Carré, cardiologist at the University Hospital of Rennes and ambassador for physical activity of the FFC. " Sitting more than 7 hours a day increases the risk of heart attack by 30%, stroke by 30% and cancer by 25%. "

Our antidotes: " Thirty minutes of physical activity a day reduces the risk of heart attack by nearly 20% "Says the cardiologist. Tips: forget the elevator, park your car five minutes from home, walk his dog.

The belly

The threat : " It's better to be a pear than an apple ", Summarizes Professor Mounier-Vehier. Gynoid fat (breeches, buttocks, etc.) is not dangerous; android fat, the "abdominal buoy", though. " And, unfortunately, we are moving towards parity in this area ", Says Professor Carré. " This visceral fat is extremely toxic because inflammatory, richly vascularized, promoting coagulation, arterial rigidity, bad cholesterol. Good summary of the "metabolic syndrome", the risk of infarction would rise by 20% each time one takes a size.

Our antidotes: " The only treatment is physical activity, and eat little salt "Asserts Professor Mounier-Véhier.

The stress

The threat : " In case of acute stress, such as heavy anger, the risk of infarction is multiplied by 2 to 3 at the time of the crisis and within 2 hours ", Warns the president of the FFC. " Chronic stress stimulates the stress hormone called cortisol, promoting weight gain, insulin resistance, nibbling and poor sleep. In the end, chronic stress is a booster of the metabolic syndrome. "

Our antidotes: Laughter yoga, heart coherence (a breathing method where the exhalation is longer than the inspiration, acting as a brake of the heart that is racing). There are some very effective apps like RespiRelax (free).

The junk food

The threat : Public enemy number 1 of the heart, salt stiffens the arteries and promotes hypertension. Sugar, pastries, alcohol, are also to be limited.

Our antidotes: Avoid resaling your dish and refilling yourself. " A good idea is to prepare plates already filled, like in the restaurant, and to go out of the table while still a bit hungry ", Advises Professor Carré. The ideal plate of Professor Mounier-Véhier? " Cook home and, to limit salt, avoid cooked dishes, meats, rinse canned, prefer goat cheese (hard cheese ...), salty and greasy. Eat green vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin K and fiber, and vasodilators, such as green beans, salad, tomatoes, cabbage, spinach; and for orange fruits, bananas, apples, pears. "


A study published in the "British Medical Journal" states that each time the temperature drops by 1 ° C, the risk of infarction increases by 2%, and this until four weeks after the cold day! The President of the FFC recommends " warm up five, ten minutes minutes before going out in the cold, cover warmly, especially the extremities and the head, and avoid the violent efforts in the cold ".

Bad sleep

The opinion of Professor Gregory M Marcus, Cardiologist, University of California at San Francisco: " In a recent study, we have shown that poor sleep, especially nighttime awakenings frequent, was an important risk factor for atrial fibrillation. We believe that people who sleep well and uninterruptedly have something inherent in their sleep that protects them from diseases such as atrial fibrillation. My advice to really improve the quality of sleep: avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine at the end of the day, screens before bedtime, exercise regularly, relax gradually as the day ends, and use the bed only for sleeping and romance, keeping the room where you sleep dark and cool. "

* author of the book to be published May 9 at Marabout "My fight for the heart of women" co-written with Rica Etienne.

Read also :

⋙ Cardiovascular diseases: which diet to adopt?

⋙ Heart failure: what are the signs that need to be consulted?

⋙ A fruit could protect against cardiovascular diseases: find out which one

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