Monthly Archives: December 2016

6 Key Risk Factors of Contracting Heart Disease

In the media there’s a lot of talk about diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and whatever disease is a current hot topic. The truth is that while these diseases are certainly frightening, none of them has the same impact on health and well-being that heart disease does.

Heart disease is the number one killer in America. Here are some shocking statistics provide by the Center for Disease Control.

  • About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.
  • About every 25 seconds, someone in the U.S. will have a coronary event, and every minute, someone will die from a coronary event.
  • Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.

(Source: http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm)

And almost everyone has a risk factor for heart disease. Before we take a look at those risk factors, let’s define what heart disease really is, and why it’s such a deadly disease.

Heart disease is an umbrella term for any type of disorder or condition that affects your heart. In most cases what happens is that your arteries are weakened. You may suffer from atherosclerosis, which is a condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries.

The buildup narrows the arteries and makes it more difficult for the blood to flow through. Clots can form, which can stop blood flow. The stress and strain on your heart can cause the walls to thicken. If a clot forms it can stop blood flow and cause a heart attack or stroke.

Let’s take a look at the risk factors. Chances are you’ll see yourself in some of these risk factors.

6 Risk Factors of Heart Disease

1) How Old Are You?

As you age, your risk of heart disease increases. Your arteries can become narrowed and damaged as you age. As this happens, it can cause your heart to work harder. Remember, your heart is a muscle and it never gets a rest. If it has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body, it’s likely to give out sooner.

2) What’s Your Gender?

Men have a greater risk of heart disease. However, once a woman goes through menopause, her risk of heart disease increases.

3) Family Matters

People with a family history of heart disease have a greater risk of developing heart disease. And if your parent developed it before age 55, then your risk increases even more.

4) Lifestyle Habits

A diet that’s high in fat, salt, sugar or cholesterol can contribute to the development of heart disease. If you’re overweight or live a sedentary lifestyle then your risk of heart disease also increases. And smoking is a serious risk factor. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease for both men and women.

5) Medical Conditions

People with certain health issues or medical conditions also have a higher risk of heart disease. For example, if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes your risk increases. Interestingly, diabetes raises the risk of heart disease in women more than it does in men.

6) The Stress Connection

Stress has been connected to several medical conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The hormone cortisol is released during times of stress and can cause damage to your tissues including your arteries and your heart.

So stress, lifestyle, and some factors beyond your control are all risk factors for heart disease. You may be seeing yourself in several of these risk factors. Here’s what you need to know…

More risk factors equals more risk. Your risk for heart disease multiplies as your number of risk factors increase. Having just one risk factor doubles your risk for heart disease, but if you have two risk factors your risk of heart disease is now fourfold. If you have three or more risk factors then your risk for heart disease increases more than tenfold.

Some risk factors are more serious. For example, if you have diabetes or you’re a smoker you’re at greater risk for heart disease than others.

While many risk factors are beyond your control, and some start during childhood, there are many risk factors that are in your control. Because your risk increases as the number and intensity of your risk factors increase, it makes sense to take steps to reduce each risk factor. Early prevention is key.

7 Tips To Go Back To Sleep In The Middle Of The Night

On average, a regular person spends somewhere between a quarter to a third of each day sleeping. This obviously puts sleep as the ONE activity we do more than any other.

While a lot of people are able to jump right into bed after a long day at work and fall asleep without encountering any sleeping routines, sometimes we can wake up in the middle of the night and find ourselves unable to go back to sleep.

This can be a very frustrating and stressful affair. It can even be a source of anxiety during the day when you get hepped up without any apparent reason.

Here are some ideas you can try next time you find yourself awake and unable to doze off again.

1) Breathing exercises

If you just take a little notice of your spouse when he/she is asleep, you might find that one of the most fascinating things is how he/she is breathing deeply with so much pleasure.

So deep and powerful can it be sometimes that they snore!

When the body recharges while asleep, oxygen intake is of utmost importance for proper recovery.

If you start doing some simple breathing exercises, you might just coax your body back into a sleepy mood.

2) Relax your muscles

Have you ever tried going to sleep and just can’t… then realize that a part of your body, maybe the shoulder or the next muscles are all tensed and tight?

No wonder you can’t sleep.

The weird thing is that we seldom become aware of tensed muscles when in bed as we assume that we are in a physically relaxed state.

Consciously feel you body from the head right down to your toes. Consciously relax the muscles in every part of the body.

Give them a short rub or gentle massage if you want.

You can go to sleep with tensed muscles. But having relaxed muscles make it so much easier.

3) Visualize a pleasant experience

Start picturing yourself on that holiday vacation you had always wanted to go on.

That beach side resort, mountain trail, or ancient city excursion can just send you mind drifting back to cloud nine.

And you never know…

You might just bring that thought into your dreams as you fall back asleep and enjoy an even more fulfilling experience on that “vacation”.

4) Stop trying to fall asleep

The more unsuccessful you are at trying to fall asleep, the more tension and stress you will feel. This can make it even harder to sleep.

The odds are that if you can’t fall asleep normally, you won’t be able to force it too.

The thing is that when you are trying too hard and pressuring yourself, you are giving your mind a puzzle to solve.

This increases active brain activity. Giving it a reason to stay awake.

5) Stop thinking about problems

Everyone have problems in life. Even the billionaires.

The more you worry about issues, the more angry and upset you might get. This just feeds your awareness and make sleeping even more difficult.

If you have to think, think happy thought like the fun you’ve had with your kids over the past weekend or the way you felt loved on your birthday.

6) Stop looking at the clock

We are all guilty of this.

In fact looking at the clock is probably the first thing most people do when they wake up.

This action might be good when you really need to make that early trip to the office. But it is detrimental to your situation when trying to go back to sleep.

The more often you take a peek at the clock, the more pressure you will feel. And the more pressure there is, the more anxiety you will feel.

This will not help you in any way.

Even if you do go back to sleep, it usually will not be good quality sleep.

7) Try a different sleeping position

I don’t know why this tip works. But I have executed it with success numerous times.

Maybe it has to do with relaxing different muscles on the body. Or disrupting the sleeping pattern the body is used to.

If you have always been a straight and flat sleeper, try going on your side. If you are already on your side, try the other side.

If you’d like to try the extreme, lay your head where your feet is usually at and vice-versa. A word of warning. Be careful not to poke your partner in the eye with your toes.