Special Report

28 Dangerous Things Experts Link to Heart Disease

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21. Clots

People whose blood is thicker and stickier than usual may more often develop blood clots. Some people inherit this trait while for others it is related to another disease such as various types of cancer and lupus. A blood clot can block a blood vessel, which may lead to chest pain, and even a heart attack.

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22. Diabetes

For people who have diabetes, the risk of death from heart disease and stroke almost doubles. High glucose (sugar) levels caused by diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves that control the heart and the blood vessels. People with diabetes tend to develop heart disease earlier in their lives. Managing the risks of heart disease is very much the same as managing diabetes: stop smoking, lower your blood pressure, and watch your cholesterol, among other things.

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23. Gum disease

While there is no proof of a direct link between gum disease and heart disease, some evidence strongly points in that direction. The two conditions may be connected due to inflammation in the gums and bacteria that may lead to narrowing of the arteries. The good news is that taking care of your teeth and gums reduces the risk of gum disease to almost zero.

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24. A sedentary lifestyle

A lack of physical activity and exercise raises the risk of heart disease as well as a host of other medical problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, all of which increase the risk of heart problems. The activity need not be strenuous to begin with, but the benefits of a little regular exercise have been well-established for maintaining heart health.

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25. Family history

The link between a person’s genetic makeup and added risk of heart disease is strong. For example, if both parents suffered from heart disease before the age of 55, the risk of heart disease in their children is 50% greater than in the rest of the population. The risk is also higher of a male relative was diagnosed with heart disease before the age of 55, and a female relative before 65.

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