Member Comments for the Article:

8 Sneaky Habits That Sabotage Your Heart

Everyday Factors That Can Harm Your Heart


  • Addendum to my previous comment: sleep, too, is dependent on the brain. For most people, a healthy brain will sleep properly, but many have conditions like REM sleep disorders which aren't readily treatable.

    In my case, I have a CPAP to control apnea, I take medications for my REM sleep disorder, and I practice good sleep hygiene... but two or three nights a week, I only get 4 - 5 hours of good sleep because I wake up intermittently.

    What am I supposed to do? "Hey brain, shape up and fly right!" When there's something organically wrong, it's not a bad habit, it's who you are. The best you can do is work around it.

    Some of this is confusion between thinking of the mind as something separate from the brain. When you realize the mind is an emergent property of the complex organ that is the brain, you realize we have a lot of control, but not total control, over the mind... and not all of the mind is under conscious control, anyway. If there's something organically wrong with the brain, that can't help but affect the mind and body, sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes on a grand scale. It's not a "one size fits all" thing, and blaming some behaviors on "bad habits" perpetuates the myth that we are in total control, and therefore are completely responsible for everything we do, think, and express. We have a lot of control, but it's far from complete. - 4/16/2015 8:40:15 AM
  • I'm with MonaDM1 on this: some of these aren't really "habits", and some aren't "sneaky", as you put it.

    Yes, they are all bad for your heart. However, some cannot be avoided. Living in an area with bad air? Only works if you can afford to relocate. Sometimes #1, "flying off the handle", is a bad habit, but sometimes it's due to an underlying mental condition which may or may not not be treatable. Ever hear of bipolar disorder or intermittent explosive disorder? PTSD can cause angry outbursts too.

    I'd certainly agree drinking too much, not seeing doctors for health problems, or not flossing are "bad habits" (although not flossing is lacking a good habit, not having a bad habit), but some of the others may well be not under your control. - 4/16/2015 8:28:23 AM
  • Yes, yes, yes, establish a relationship with a PCP you trust. A few years ago, a severe kidney infection sent me to the ER on a Sunday. At the time, I hadn't seen a doctor since the birth of my youngest and he was finished kindergarten at the time. When I saw a doctor for a follow up, she listened to my heart, heard a murmur, and insisted it be checked out. I had been told there was a murmur before but never bothered to go for the tests. Turns out I have a serious congenital heart defect. Most people with that defect have it fixed before they go to school. I was 38. While the defect could be surgically repaired, the damage done to my heart by neglecting it for so long is irreversible. - 2/26/2015 1:34:50 PM
  • Look up the latest research on Oral health and heart health. You will find that it is indeed linked according to even the latest research from reputable sources. The link goes further. It is connected to diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis as well. All of these are inflammatory diseases. At the most basic level, it is based on inflammation making inflammation worse, just by being inflamed. Then add the bacteria and what it does within each disease. They have found the same bacteria involved in periodontal disease, in plaque in the arteries. Having these other diseases also makes perio worse and increases your chances of tooth loss. - 1/20/2015 12:26:58 PM
  • I'd like to add 2 things. First, dehydration can also be bad for your heart. While I doing know how much I believe in the "8 glasses of water a day thing" (it sometimes seems like a bit too much and sometimes seems to do my body more harm than good), I DO think it's important to listen to your body, cut out or limit foods and drinks that increase dehydration (such as sodas and coffee drinks with excess sugar and caffeine), and drink water when you feel thirsty. When I listen to my body and drink when I'm thirsty, I feel better and less stressed throughout the day, my circulation seems a bit better (don't have as much swelling in the lower legs when I sit or stand for long periods), and I don't go to the bathroom so much at night (when I used to focus on drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day, I was up every hour going to the bathroom and not getting a good amount of sleep, which we've just learned is bad for our hearts). I've also noticed that cutting out excess caffeine and sugar in drink form helps me to feel better and not so jittery / on edge throughout the day.

    Also, this article is a great argument for taking vacations more often. When we take a well-planned and properly funded vacation (we don't want to increase stress by spending money we shouldn't or upsetting our bosses by trying to vacation and inopportune times), we can relieve stress, brighten our outlook on life, reconnect with the family and even get away to areas with less pollution. We can also make more time for exercise and active outings and get better sleep. So if you're the type who doesn't vacation often (or makes lots of excuses for why it's never a good time to take a vacation), consider your health and the health of your family. Vacations don't have to be super costly or last a very long time, but if you live in a large city and are always on the go, you probably need it more than most. The next time you start feeling a little overwhelmed, why not plan a short weekend trip to the beach or a lake? You can do all sorts of activities that won't make you sedentary and enjoy some much needed stress relief for yourself and the family! - 1/20/2014 12:21:25 PM
  • They should update this to be consistent with their sleep quiz that says 6 not 5 hours of sleep. - 6/23/2013 8:25:02 AM
  • Staying inside to avoid weather conditions that aggravate my asthma stalls my health in many ways. Damage done living in LA with a smoking father has not been reversed over the last 40 years. - 3/4/2013 4:15:22 PM
    Why would you characterize living or working in a polluted area as a "sneaky" habit? Or many of the other factors you mentioned, for that matter....

    "Sneaky" means "underhanded", and I am sure lots of people who live or work where the air is not clean do not have much choice, until we address the problem, as a society.

    No, I didn't wake up grumpy, this morning, trying to find any pretext to get all worked up... I have just become more sensitive to the way we induce guilt in ourselves through language... "cheating" on a diet, "sneaky" habits....

    While guilt drives sales, it doesn't do much for self esteem and usually backfires. Instead of making positive changes, we seem to be more likely to adhere to the habits that make us feel guilty.... - 3/2/2013 12:07:35 PM
  • It would be nice if I could find a competent doctor. So far all they want to do is test and prescribe. After all the testing and prescribing I end up worse than I started. I've had PCOS for over 20 years, but still don't have an official diagnosis. We did thousands of dollars testing on my thyroid and then nothing was done. I say, " Find a good NATUROPATHIC doctor. They do more good for you in the long run." - 3/2/2013 10:28:42 AM
  • I need more rest. - 12/16/2012 4:31:57 PM
  • i sleep 8-10 hr. best thing ever. - 12/16/2012 3:17:37 PM
    Also, I have heard that women of child-bearing age are naturally protected against heart disease? How true is this? - 12/15/2012 12:12:05 PM
  • I wish there was a link to Facebook for this article so I could share it with my friends and family. - 12/15/2012 11:16:33 AM
    Ha, totally affected by all of these.

    Apart from the alcohol, so...I guess that's something. - 12/15/2012 8:56:59 AM
  • I hate to be a party pooper but they just disproved the bad gums bad heart link. Not that that should be an excuse to neglect either (that much). - 4/19/2012 8:58:58 PM

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