What lifestyle factors or choices would be dangerous to our heart?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are quite a few lifestyle and behavioral choices that can be bad for a person's heart.  Here are a few of them:

  • Being overweight
  • Eating too many fatty foods
  • Having high cholesterol levels
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Smoking

The first four of these are often related.  Overall, the message of those four points is that it is bad to eat an unhealthy diet.  Such a diet can often lead to high cholesterol levels and excess weight.

Relatedly, it is also dangerous to get insufficient exercise.  This can lead to having an unfit heart as well as to being overweight.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Many, many athletes take anabolic steroids, which can produce some serious cardiovascular damage as well as damage to other organs such as the liver.  One of the early anabolic steroids, Dianabol, has been responsible for damaging organs of many of the bodybuilders of the 1960s and 1970s. 

Smoking marijuana increases the heart rate by 50% and can cause chest pain to those who have a poor blood supply to the heart. Cocaine has powerful negative effects upon the heart, sometimes causing sudden death.  For instance, cocaine increasing heart and blood pressure while constricting the arteries supplying blood to the heart.  The result can be a heart attack, even in a young person without any heart disease.  Cocaine can also trigger an abnormal heart rhythm, called arrhythmia, killing instantly.

By the way, some cancer drugs, if used for a long time, can cause heart damage. Prolonged usage of anthracyclines can lead to heart muscle damage, including cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes abnormal growth of muscle fibers.  If the anthracyclines are continued, eventually they can lead to congestive heart failure.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Along the lines of what was previously suggested would be the excessive consumption of drugs, in particular, alcoholic intake.  The use of alcohol is associated with a very fast and intense lifestyle, where social activity is mixed quite well with alcohol.  Such excessive consumption could be damaging to internal organs such as the cardiac muscles.  It is interesting to note that some researchers have found that socioeconomic conditions and excessive concern about such realities can also affect the status of one's heart.  Stress brought about by material reality as well as housing status can add to heart frailty.

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