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Other possible heart disease risk factors
- Depression, stress, and anxiety
- Not enough sleep
- Lower income
- More information on other possible heart disease risk factors
Emotional and environmental factors can also contribute to your heart disease risk.
Negative emotions like depression, stress, and anxiety can raise your risk of developing heart disease. Researchers aren't exactly sure why this is. Perhaps these emotions lead to unhealthy ways of coping, such as smoking, drink too much, or eating high-fat foods — all which can put your heart health at risk. Research also suggests that depression itself is a risk factor for heart disease. Depression, stress, and other negative emotions may affect the body in ways that trigger plaque buildup or clot formation within the arteries. So, taking care of your emotional health is also an important part of taking care of your heart health. Talk to your doctor or a counselor if you have symptoms of depression or problems coping with daily stressors.
Not getting enough sleep won't just make you cranky, it can also raise your risk of heart disease. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. In adults between the ages of 32 and 59, sleeping less than five hours each day can double the risk of high blood pressure. So make sure you're getting enough sleep to wake up feeling refreshed. If you're having trouble sleeping, don't drink caffeine or alcohol before bed and make sure your bedroom is cool and dark. Also, try doing something relaxing before bed and use your bed for sleep and sex only.
Research shows that lower income adults have an increased risk of heart disease. Children born into lower income families are also more likely to have heart disease as adults. This may be because low-income adults are less likely to be physically active, eat a heart-healthy diet, and are more likely to smoke. It can be difficult to eat a heart-healthy diet in lower income neighborhoods. It may also be hard to find a safe place to be physically active. Check with religious or community centers, or the parks department to see if there are any physical activity groups you can join.
Read more from womenshealth.gov
Heart Disease Fact Sheet — This fact sheet on women and heart disease includes information about risk factors, prevention, and treatment of heart disease.
Explore other publications and websites
Acute Emotional Stress and the Heart (Copyright © Journal of the American Medical Association) — Emotional stress can affect your heart rate and blood pressure. Stress on the heart can also lead to a heart attack. This publication talks more about emotional stress and how to manage stressful situations.
Depression and Heart Disease (Copyright © Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) — This fact sheet explains the link between depression and heart disease. It also discusses the likelihood of developing heart disease if depression is untreated.
Heart Disease in Women: Understand Symptoms and Risk Factors (Copyright © Mayo Foundation) — What can you do to help prevent heart disease? This fact sheet explains the symptoms of heart disease unique to women and recommends ways to keep your heart healthy.
Heart Disease Risk Factors — Heart disease risk factors are conditions or habits that raise your risk for heart disease and heart attack. This fact sheet discusses how following a healthy lifestyle can reduce some of these risk factors.
Connect with other organizations
American Heart Association
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, HHS
Content last updated February 1, 2009.
Resources last updated February 1, 2009.
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