According to statistical data, heart attacks kill around 500,000 people each year. This makes them the number one killer of men and women alike. Although diet, physical activity levels and genetics play a considerable role in the risk of heart attack, there are other common triggers that most people are unaware of. Here are three little-known causes of heart attacks.
Electrolytes are substances used by the nervous system to transmit electrical signals along nerves, and they include potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. The body goes to great lengths to keep levels of these minerals in balance, because too much or too little of any one electrolyte can cause severe disturbances in nerve impulses. Indeed, this is a fairly common cause of heart attack. When nerve signals to the heart are disrupted or improperly timed, it fails to beat correctly, resulting in a heart attack.
Too Much Exercise
Every so often, you hear of a marathon runner or cyclist who suddenly dropped dead after a competition. This is due to prolonged and severe strain on the heart, which causes the muscle to become enlarged. An enlarged heart is incapable of pumping efficiently, and eventually, the strain it fatal. Exercise is important for health, but too much is dangerous.
Hyperventilation, or excessive breathing, occurs during mouth-breathing, after heavy physical activity, following large meals and during periods of anxiety or high stress. It causes levels of carbon dioxide in the blood to plummet. Carbon dioxide carries oxygen through the bloodstream, so diminished amounts reduce oxygen delivery to tissues, including the heart. In this way, hyperventilation can trigger a heart attack.
In order to reduce your risk of heart attack, it’s important to be aware of more than just the widely known risk factors. Maintain proper electrolyte levels through adequate hydration, avoid exercising too much and prevent hyperventilation, and you can further reduce your risk of this number one killer.
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