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heart-disease-risk-factors-you-didnt-know-aboutThere's more to heart health than just diet and exercise.

We all know the basic keys to a healthy ticker: exercise, eating right and avoiding tobacco. But, being overweight and smoking aren’t the only risk factors for heart disease. 

Check out these heart disease risk factors you might not know about. 

4 Risk Factors Connected to Heart Health

1.  A Noisy Neighborhood

A recent study conducted in Denmark found that loud traffic noise seems to have a direct correlation to the risk of a heart attack. The study found that for every additional 10 decibels of noise, heart attack risk increases 12 percent. In fact, heart attack survivors who live 300 feet away or closer to a major road are 27 percent more likely to die from another attack than those that live farther away. The study’s authors believed the traffic noise could increase stress and therefore make a heart attack more likely.

2.  Gum Health

Seriously, it’s time to embrace the floss. Some studies show that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease than those with healthy mouths. Brush and floss twice a day and keep that heart doctor away!

3.  The Time of Year

A 2012 study by the American Heart Association found an odd trend: You are more likely to die from heart problems in the winter than any other time of year. And, it’s not just the climate. The results were consistent from the desert of Arizona to the snow-capped mountains of Vermont. Doctors believe this may be explained by the fact that most people are a bit more sedentary during that time of the year. It turns out that the 'winter blahs' could be a risk factor after all. Don't let the weather keep you from hitting the gym. 

4.  Sleep Apnea

Several recent studies seem to show that people with sleep apnea may be more likely to have cardiovascular disease.  Sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing for small intervals during the night. Even though it may not wake them up, it is still disruptive to their sleep patterns. These disruptions can cause high blood pressure, which in turn has a negative effect on the heart. Doctors estimate that 1 in 5 adults have sleep apnea. If you’re a snorer, or you sleep next to one, get yourself or your snorer checked.

Even though you may be doing all the right things when it comes to diet and exercise, our hearts work hard for us and deserve a little extra TLC. For a healthy heart, always be sure to floss your teeth, keep that traffic noise muffled and keep hitting the gym even in those gray winter months.

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