The heart is undoubtedly one of the most important organs and is often the most neglected one. Our poor food choices, inappropriate lifestyle changes and addictions are the culprits. This significantly amplifies during the monsoon, where our food choices are too fatty and some lean too much on ‘sutta’ to keep themselves warm.
When we talk of heart toxins, the mind automatically starts to imagine harmful chemicals and metals. While they are definitely poisonous, there are certain substances to which we are exposed more often and can prove to be highly dangerous. Here are some silent heart-killers.
- Recreational drug abuse: Although drug abuse is all about enjoying the ‘high’, the abnormal and alarmingly elevated blood pressure and heart rates, cases of cardiac arrest with an overdose are extremely common, especially during this cold and gloomy season.
- Medicinal drugs: Medications are always our first line of treatment. However, not following prescriptions, taking medications for more than the required period of time and self-medication can often lead to overdose. Several medicines have pronounced side effects on the heart. They weaken heart muscles and can be cardiotoxic. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
- CT Scans: The amount of radiation the body is exposed to in a CT scan and X-rays is significant. While the prescription of a CT scan has always been conservative, the damage it does to the heart cannot be ignored.
- Seafood: Although rich in essential fatty acids and proteins, seafood is also a known cause of mercury poisoning due to the heavy metal deposits found in them. High levels of mercury in the blood cause higher blood pressure and arrhythmia.
Opting for smaller fish that have lower levels of mercury is always a wiser option.
- Nicotine: The sheer number of harmful substances that are mixed to make a cigarette should be enough to motivate you to ditch them altogether. Heavy smoking observed during the season of rains causes a lot of damage to the lining of the arteries increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Trans fats: These fats are known to increase bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and reduce good cholesterol levels i.e. HDL. These directly contribute to cardiovascular risk.
- Processed foods: Processed foods are usually high in fats or salt, if not both. Excess fat and sodium intake causes obesity, high blood pressure and contribute to developing cardiovascular ailments.
- Alcohol: Although moderate consumption of alcohol is known to improve circulation, it becomes a problem when one starts binge drinking. Alcoholism is a known risk factor for liver diseases, peptic ulcers, arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy.
- Chlorine: We all feel that chlorine in swimming pools help make it safer for us. However, it gets absorbed into the skin almost immediately and causes heart diseases in the long run.
- Stress: Although not a physical or visible toxin, stress has a tremendous impact on your health. It raises blood pressure and significantly contributes to the incidences of myocardial infarction.
- Inactivity: Changing lifestyle has made our life fast-paced but sedentary. With an increase in desk jobs that involve little physical activity, most of us are at a high risk of having heart-related ailments.
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Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.