Many of us are well aware of the traditional heart attack risks: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity and family history. What about some of the lesser known but still dangerous risk factors?
Being single, which to some might be counter intuitive, not only increases your risk of heart disease but also of dying earlier than your married friends. Why? I have truly no answer on this one.
Snoring, which besides driving everyone around you nuts, may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. This can lead to heart attacks among other conditions if not treated.
Diseased gums cause inflammation and inflammation has been shown to increase your chances of a heart attack. Try to floss once daily and see your dentist at least once a year. Another form of inflammation occurs with migraine headaches. This may explain why migraine sufferers have increased risks of heart disease.
Erectile dysfunction increases the risk by an astounding 50 times. This is because diseased arteries as seen in atherosclerosis can prevent erections. Thus, inability to have an erection is a marker for arterial and heart disease.
Lack of sleep whether due to shift work, anxiety, medications or any cause will over time increase your risks not only of heart disease but also cancer. Restful sleep is key to a healthy lifestyle.
A recent study revealed that having three out of the following four findings increased a man’s risk 57% of having a heart attack and 37% for having heart disease:
1. Receding hairline at the temples
2. Bald spot
3. Ear lobe creases
4. Yellow spots on the eyelids or xanthelasmata
And while I’m not saying that bald is not in fact beautiful, bald can be dangerous.
For some of these unusual heart attack risks, action can be taken. For example, you can take care of your gums and dedicate more time to sleeping. You can get married (not a panacea to be sure). However, for other risks such as going bald, neither Rogaine nor hair replacement surgery will lessen your risks. You will need to control other risks such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and obesity more aggressively and see your doctor regularly.
Bottom line is be aware of these unusual heart disease risks and if you happen to have one or more, talk with your physician.