27 Daily (Healthy) Habits That Are Ruining Your Heart, According to Science

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18. You worry constantly.

If you find yourself in a constant state of worry, you might want to bring it up to your doctor before it ruins your heart. “Cortisol is the hormone that is released in response to stress or worries,” says Reed. “If you are constantly in a state of stress or worry, then you have this hormone around way too much. Cortisol in extended doses can cause the heart to have to pump harder than it should.”

19. You use artificial sweeteners.

If you’re truly opposed to drinking your coffee without sweetener, you might want to reach for the real stuff as opposed to an artificial option. In a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers found that those who consume artificial sweeteners had a higher incidence of obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular events than those who didn’t.

20. You consume too much salt.

For your heart’s sake, you might want to curb your consumption of salt, too. In a 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, Chinese researchers discovered that 20 percent of all cardiovascular deaths that occurred in Shandong, China, in 2011 were due to high sodium intake.

This statistic makes sense when you look at why sodium is so dangerous. “Foods that are high in sodium cause our bodies to retain water, which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood,” says Wood.

21. You ignore your snoring habit.

Though your snoring may seem relatively innocuous, it could be a serious sign of sleep apnea that might lead to more complicated health issues down the road. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke, and heart failure.

22. You take the elevator.

If you want to ensure that your heart stays as healthy as possible, then take the stairs, says Mark Peterman, MD, a cardiologist at Texas Health Plano. “The stairs are an underrated way to work aerobic exercise into your day,” he says. The stairs are also a lot safer than an elevator, where you’re in a small, enclosed space with strangers who might be carrying the coronavirus. Besides taking the stairs, consider adding a true cardio workout to your routine. According to one 2018 study published in JAMA Network Opencardiorespiratory fitness is associated with a longer lifespan.

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