• Sat. Oct 31st, 2020

ARE YOU BREAKING YOUR HEART?

ByMuthoni Githire

Aug 27, 2020

The human body has five vital organs that are extremely essential for healthy living. These are the brain, kidneys, liver, lungs and heart. Any damage to these organs, as minute as it may seem, can hinder basic survival of the body and in extreme cases, cause death. Through the circulatory system, the heart pumps blood throughout the body, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other wastes. Accumulation of these wastes in the tissues hinders proper functioning and renders them inactive. Damage to the heart therefore means improper oxygen and nutrients supply and poor clearance of metabolic wastes.

Certain habits can severely damage the heart and hinder its proper activity. These habits include:

Damaged Heart
  • Tobacco use

Research has shown that cigarette smoking increases the heart rate, causes tightening of major arteries and can cause fibrillations, which are irregular heart rhythms. Smoking also causes hypertension, which is a risk factor for stroke. The chemicals in the tobacco smoke damage the structure of blood vessels, increasing the risk of blood vessel diseases such as atherosclerosis; which is the hardening and narrowing of arteries and veins.

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Long term consumption of alcohol can cause on-going increased heart rate, high blood pressure, weakened heart muscle and irregular heartbeat, all of which affects normal functioning of the heart. Alcohol consumption with an existing heart condition can worsen the symptoms and even lead to heart failure, and consequently death.

  •  Lack of physical exercise

Lack of physical activity, also known as sedentary lifestyle is often characterized by excessive sitting and/or lying down with activities such as reading, socializing, playing video games, watching television et cetera. This kind of living can cause heart disease, even for people with no risk factors. Lack of physical activity exposes one to risks such as obesity, blood clots, high blood pressure and stroke, all of which severely affect proper functioning of the heart, leading to heart disease.

  • Lack of enough sleep

Sleep is no longer a luxury. It is critical to good health. Long-term sleep deprivation is often associated with increased heart rate and increased blood pressure, both of which causes an extra strain on the heart. Some chemicals associated with inflammation also seem to be produced in higher levels when one lacks enough sleep. Lack of enough sleep is also associated with type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by buildup of blood glucose in the blood, which causes hardening and narrowing of blood vessels, causing an extra strain on the heart. Insomnia also causes unhealthy weight gain, therefore long-term sleep deprivation can lead to obesity.

  • Excessive salt consumption

When blood levels of sodium are high, excess fluid is held in the body, leading to high blood volume. This creates an added burden of pumping blood throughout the body, by increasing the blood pressure. Too much salt consumption increase the risk of stroke, heart attacks and heart failure.

 The heart is too vital to be taken for granted, and it is our responsibility to keep it healthy.

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