Heart Health: These Things Cardiologists Never Recommend

Heart specialist Dr. Nicole Harkin, founder of Whole Heart Cardiology, said it’s never too early to adopt healthy habits that will improve heart health “and frankly, overall health.” In her early 30s, during a cardiology fellowship, Harkin studied the data behind healthy lifestyle choices for heart disease prevention.

CDC states that heart disease is the leading cause of death among men, women, and people of most ethnicities and races. It says 20% of Americans who died in 2020 from coronary artery disease, the most common form of heart disease, were 65 and under. Changing factors like genetics are impossible, but lifestyle choices can prevent 80% of heart attacks. To keep your heart healthy, Harkin recommends the following things.

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Not To Eat Red Meat

Harkin recommends becoming vegetarian out of concern for animal rights. Her later research, however, confirmed that red meat, specifically processed red meat, increased cardiovascular disease risks. In a recent TikTok video, Harkin said regularly eating hot dogs, hamburgers, and deli meat “trashes” the arteries. Instead, Harkin recommended eating more fiber in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

Do You Vape Or Smoke?

According to Harkin, smoking cigarettes or vaping is not recommended. She said smoking is a common cause of heart attacks in young women. It is estimated that a third of all deaths from heart disease are caused by inhaled nicotine delivery products, such as traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and vaping.

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Having Trouble Sleeping

Sleep apnea, in which part or all of the upper airway is blocked while you sleep, is strongly associated with high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. Studies have shown that not getting that type of sleep increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Harkin recommends sleeping for at least seven to eight hours a night.

Do Not Ignore Chest Pains 

Harkin suggests that if you have any risk factors that cause heart disease, such as high blood pressure, you shouldn’t ignore them. She said, “The number of heart attacks that occur among people who would be considered low risk by traditional screening criteria is shocking, adding: “People are always sicker when they have been having chest pain for hours.”