Special Report

28 Dangerous Things Experts Link to Heart Disease

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16. Sugar

Added sugars contribute about 10% of the calories in a typical American’s daily diet. For a tenth of Americans, however, added sugars contribute 25% or more of their daily calories and doubles their risk of death from heart disease. About a quarter of the participants in a 15-year-long study whose diet was 25% or more sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than the the 10% group and not gender, age, physical activity level or body-mass index made any difference.

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17. Bad vs good cholesterol

Just as LDL cholesterol is not healthy, HDL cholesterol is healthy. The bad news is that LDL cholesterol is present in higher quantity, increasing a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke. HDL cholesterol absorbs LDL and removes it, but only some, not all, of it. HIgh levels of bad cholesterol can result in fat buildup in the blood vessels, narrowing them and blocking blood flow to the heart.

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18. Stress

High stress levels cause people to adopt behaviors that can lead to increased risk of heart disease. Eating or drinking too much, smoking, or just sitting on the couch staring into space are all proven to raise the risk of heart disease.

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19. Thick blood

Hypercoagulability is the name for a condition that occurs when a person’s blood is thicker and stickier than usual. People affected by the condition are prone to developing excess blood clots which can obstruct the movement of nutrients, oxygen, and hormones to other body tissues and cells, leading to, among other things, heart attack.

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20. Leukemia

While leukemia itself is not related to heart disease, some of the drugs used to treat the cancer can have an adverse effect leading to congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, or heart attacks. Patients on any leukemia-fighting drug often have no alternative and so must weigh the risks of heart disease against the risks of the cancer.

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