15 Surprising Heart Disease Risk Factors You Didn’t Know

You have a bad boss

It’s not just the stress of a sudden traumatic event that can lead to heart trouble. The low-level stress of having to deal with a negative, manipulative, PITA boss day-in and day-out can also cause your ticker to flicker.

In a 10-year study, Swedish researchers found that you may be 40 percent more likely to have a heart attack if you have a bad boss. “Heart attacks can be triggered by significant stress at work,” says VijayKumar S. Kasi, MD, PhD, interventional cardiologist, chief of interventional cardiology at Orlando Health Heart Institute. And when coupled with other risk factors like poor sleep or diet, Dr. Eubany says, “you’re constantly being exposed to adrenaline hormone, which exacerbates the risk for coronary artery disease.”

You can’t sleep at night

Speaking of sleep, getting seven to eight hours a night doesn’t just keep under-eye bags away, it can keep your heart healthy, too. Lack of sleep and waking up frequently at night can raise your blood pressure and heart rate, keeping your body on high alert instead of at rest. Plus, when you’re tired, you’re less likely to keep up with healthy habits.

“Your body needs to spend time sleeping in order to recover and replenish itself,” says Dr. Kasi. “Your immune system sleeps during the day. When you fall asleep, it wakes up and cleans up the mess. Your heart rate also drops 20 points during the night to help you recharge too.” So if you’re not getting good quality zzz’s, it may be time to revamp your nighttime routine.

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