Drinking certain kinds of alcohol daily can raise your chances of getting atrial fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that makes your heart beat really fast. AFib can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart conditions.
Moderate drinking (one to three drinks a day). A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found a strong link between moderate drinking and getting AFib. Oddly enough, the study found this to be true for people who drink wine and...
Stress hormones can contribute to potentially dangerous inflammation in your arteries. Stress also raises your risk for diabetes. What's more, you may try to handle the stress in some unhealthy ways -- such as drinking too much, overeating, or smoking.
"Trying to prevent stress completely doesn't usually work, since life just gets stressful sometimes," says Gordon Tomaselli, MD, chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Instead, he suggests developing ways to deal with stress when it appears.
Get physically active. Experts are unanimous: Exercise is one of the best things you can do for a heart condition. Not only does it improve your physical health, it also can improve your mood and cut stress, says Estes. How much do you need? Aim for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week of moderately intense activity a week. Take a brisk walk, swim, bike, or do just about anything that gets your heart going. If you have a heart condition, check with your doctor before starting a new workout routine.
Try active relaxation. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, tai chi, and deep breathing are all good options, Tomaselli says. "If you find an approach that gives you satisfaction and lowers your stress, stick with it," he says.
Reach out to friends and family. People you love are some of the best stress-busters you have. Give yourself a break. Just have some fun and share a laugh.
Do something new. Feeling stressed out and sick can put you in a rut. Push yourself to do something new. Visit a museum. Go to a bookstore. Read on a park bench. Go to a Spanish class.
Help others. At a time when you're feeling worried and sick, helping others can give you an unexpected lift.