Volume 3 Issue 2

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S everal surprising disorders have also been linked to a greater threat of CVD. Even if you don't have any noticeable symptoms of heart disease and don't consider yourself to be a candidate for stroke, if you have any of these conditions, you're at risk and need to take action now to protect yourself. And the more of them you have, the greater the threat of a heart attack or stroke. Migraine Headaches Women who have migraines with an aura (visual disturbances, such as flashing lights) at least once a week are more than four times more likely to have a stroke. Migraines also raise CVD risk for men, though not by as much. Rheumatoid Arthritis Having rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that causes painful inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues, raises heart attack risk by about 45 percent. However, if you have RA and hyperlipidemia (high levels of lipids, such as cholesterol or triglycerides), heart attack danger soars by a whooping 700 percent – a compelling reason to track your cholesterol with advanced tests. Gout A form of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood, gout magnifies your risk for insulin resistance – the leading cause of heart attacks. If you have even intermittent attacks of gout, get your blood sugar level checked with the two-hour oral glucose tolerance test to check for IR, since discovering and treating this very common condition is key to heart attack prevention. Lack of Sleep Skimping on shut-eye increases the danger of dying from CVD. But until recently, experts weren't sure why. The latest research shows that people who average six hours of sleep a night have significantly higher levels of inflammatory markers than those who snooze for eight. Chronic sleep deprivation is also tied to worse health, as well as to higher rates of smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure, offering additional explanations for its toll on the heart. And getting less than six hours of slumber more than quadruples risk for prediabetes. The best defense: Rest one extra hour a night. In a five-year study of healthy volunteers in their forties, that reduced risk of calcium buildup in heart arteries – a predictor of future heart disease risk – by 33 percent. This may be because blood pressure drops during sleep, reducing wear and tear on vessels. It's possible, however, to get too much of a good thing, since nine hours of slumber a night is also tied to higher risk of CVD. Seven to eight hours is optimal. Erectile Dysfunction Difficulty maintaining an erection sufficient for sex is one of the leading warning signs of heart disease in men. Understanding this link is important for the thirty million American men affected by erectile dysfunction (ED). Research shows that men with ED are 1.4 times more likely to suffer serious cardiovascular event, such as heart attack or stroke. Age also plays a role, since ED is much more frequently associated with cardiac issues in men in their forties than it is in men in their seventies. Depression and Anxiety Depression can literally break hearts, Columbia University researchers recently reported. While doctors already knew it can hit after a heart attack or stroke, worsening outcomes, the study, which tracked 63,000 women with no history of heart trouble over a twelve-year span, revealed that gloom could also trigger heart disease in the first place. Compared to women who weren't depressed, Hidden Risk Factors for CVD Page 34| Abby's Magazine -

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