I think you'll agree with me when I say:
Most of us would like to live forever (or at the very least until the heat death of the Universe).
But the thing is, evolution doesn’t seem to have got the memo.
So here’s the cold hard truth:
The majority of conditions that cause death in the general population are cardiovascular.
In fact, statistics show that at least 25% of deaths in the United States are caused by heart-related diseases.
Each year, there is an average of 735,000 reported cases of heart attacks in the country, with more than half a million experiencing this event for the first time.
And, while heart attacks are unpredictable in many cases, there are certain triggers that have been linked to these events.
It is well-known HOW a heart attack occurs...
But understanding the details of WHEN and WHY may hold further valuable information for people who know that they might be at a higher risk of experiencing this type of event.
In this post, we explore some surprising triggers that have been linked to heart attacks.
(And yes, dehydration is one of them).
However, it's far from the only one.
Today, we'll go over several potential reasons why heart attacks tend to occur at specific times or following certain events or activities.
Let’s dive right in!
1. Waking Up
Several research studies have looked at when people are most likely to have a heart attack and experienced similar events – and they usually find that the majority of these incidences tend to happen early in the morning.
Why is that?
According to one particular study, it has been found that blood pressure is unstable during the early mornings.
There is evidence that the Circadian rhythm plays a role in blood pressure regulation. Blood pressure may fall by up to 30% during sleep and then may increase significantly when a person wakes up.
The study describes that this may have a role to play in the fact that people seem to be at the greatest risk of heart attacks, strokes, and similar events following the first four to six hours after they have woken up.
What many people do not realize is that blood consists of a large percentage of water, and when the body becomes dehydrated, blood starts to get thicker.
Dehydration is known to cause excess strain on the heart, as the heart needs to start working harder to pump blood through the body.
This rise in blood pressure and increase in heart-related strain can be another potential trigger for a heart attack.
Dehydration also causes increased retention of sodium in the blood. This further causes strain on the heart, as blood becomes harder to circulate effectively due to the higher sodium content.
3. Not Being Vaccinated Against Flu
Another surprising potential trigger for heart attacks seems to be the failure to get a flu vaccine.
This vaccine is readily available in pharmacies, especially as it gets closer to flu season. The primary purpose of the vaccine is to help equip the body with improved defenses against the viruses that cause flu.
Scientists have discovered that this particular vaccination might actually have some positive effects on the heart as well – with an observed 50% reduction in heart attack events among those who do get vaccinated.
This particular benefit seems to be especially important for individuals who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, according to one study.
While some NSAID medication has had the wording “may cause an increased risk of heart disease” on their packaging for quite some time, the FDA recently announced that this should now be changed to "cause" instead of "may cause."
There are now several studies that have shown NSAIDs do make people much more likely to experience a heart attack, especially with long-term use, and when the drugs are taken in high doses.
One last surprising trigger – anger, or really any other kind of excessive emotional experience.
Researchers have found that anger, in particular, can cause a number of changes in the body. This includes a significant increase in heart rate, as well as blood pressure.
In turn, not being able to effectively control excessive emotions might lead to the triggering of a heart attack.
Anger management for life!
Heart attacks can generally happen at any time, but even though they often seem unexpected, studies have found certain triggers that make these cardiac events more likely to occur.
It seems like people are at a higher risk of having a heart attack after they wake up in the morning – but there are other triggers as well.
Some of them can seem strange, yet they should be noted – especially by those who are at a greater risk.