Some heart issues are lifestyle-driven. Excessive alcohol intake and smoking are already established causes, among other chronic illnesses, but these are not the only things keeping you from having a healthier heart.
Learn about the 7 detrimental habits that are so common, you do them often without thinking of the repercussions they do to your heart.
Depriving yourself of sleep
Lack of sleep does more than lessen energy and focus; the ''microsleep'' phenomenon is also linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Good quality sleep allows the heart rate and blood pressure to go down, which means in its absence, the heart is compromised. On top of that, it increases the chances of having complications like hypertension and diabetes.
Sitting all day
As harmless as it sounds, sitting too long actually disrupts proper blood circulation. How long is 'too long'? An eight-hour desk job for instance should not pass without a few active breaks every hour or two. Whether it is as basic as walking periodically, or standing up to get water, these already help balance blood levels of fats and sugars.
One may wonder how oral health could possibly affect the heart. Think of it this way: the mouth comes in contact with more germs than the rectal area, as it is the largest entry point in the body. Once bacterial infection occurs in parts of the mouth such as the gums and teeth, the risk of an infection penetrating the blood stream is increased, affecting the heart valves.
While plenty of research are still in progress to study what appears to be a discernible connection between the two, dentists and doctors recommend flossing habitually and getting a thorough dental cleaning at least twice a year.
Eating extremes: overeating and not eating at all
Overeating high-calorie carbohydrates which results in obesity impairs the heart mercilessly. The same effect is met when one completely disregards eating and drinking altogether, due to the absence of nutrition the heart needs. To counteract, strike a balance within your diet by eating the right amount of food at the right time. In any case, the best beverage to pair up with every meal is and will always be water.
Stressing too much
A happy mood makes a world of difference to heart function. When stress hormones are doubled, unhealthy coping mechanisms—drinking, smoking, and craving ''comfort food'' high in cholesterol—may form and be adapted which consequently puts the heart at risk for diseases. To relieve stress, develop a habit of acknowledging the great things in your life, and learning to say no to things that do not serve you.
Age-driven lack of concern
''I'm not at the age to worry about that yet'' is a mentality that prohibits the mind from thinking practically. The truth is, there is no better time to start tending to the heart than right now. More than anything, it is important to realize that no one is exempted from developing heart problems, not even the young.
Leaving your health state unchecked
Never underestimate the power of being prepared; be it for leisure like hosting a party and taking a trip abroad, or for more serious, life-changing situations like putting up an emergency fund and recognizing where your health condition is at, as of the moment.
Going through physical examinations regularly, getting blood work, or seeing the doctor annually are three habits that can help identify health issues and prevent them from maturing.
An additional step to acquire maximum preparedness is by securing a health insurance plan to avoid being financially vulnerable when emergencies concerning the heart do happen.
AXA, among the country's leading players in the insurance industry, offers several health plans to choose from depending on one's needs and lifestyle.
Because health emergencies are unpredictable, they could take a heavy toll on one's finances. AXA takes care of this through its recently introduced Health Start—a health plan that offers coverage for the top three major critical conditions which are cancer, heart attack, and stroke, and some of their minor forms.
Moreover, customers up to 65 years of age can still apply and get a coverage that can last until they turn a hundred years old.
For a minimum monthly payment of as low as P1,500 for Health Start (individual coverage) or P1,950 for Health Start Family, one is already protected and will be provided the best possible coverage, not only for themselves but also for their family.
Health Start also offers life insurance to ensure that one's family will receive the life benefit in the case of their untimely demise. Standard premiums will be returned by age 75, while the remainder will continue to be their coverage for illnesses or death until age 100.
It also offers child coverage, with a one-time P200,000 benefit for covered child conditions. This is on top of the plan's overall sum insured.
There is a suitable plan for everyone—from single persons to families. Health Start for individuals covers critical illnesses and comes with a built-in child coverage against select child conditions and is available for one's child now or in the future. Health Start Family, which can be shared between spouses, a parent, an adult child (18 years old and above), or a sibling, also includes a built-in child coverage.
To know more about other services and products provided by AXA, talk to an AXA Financial Advisor today or visit www.axa.com.ph/healthstart.
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