Some lesser-known situations and stressors can contribute to a heart attack, including:
• Driving in traffic
The stress from your commute can triple your likelihood.
Your chances increase 20 percent the first day of the week.
• The morning
During the early hours of the morning, you're 40 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than at any other time of the day. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon: hormone levels, medication (which may be at a lower or higher level), and dehydration. Severe dehydration will cause the blood to thicken and increase the tendency to clot.
• Speaking at a podium
Situations such as public speaking ignite the fight or flight response, a physiological stress reaction that elevates heart rate, blood pressure and adrenaline.
• Consuming a high-fat, high-carb meal
"You can think of it as the sludge in your vessels," ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says. "Your vessels might be less compliant after a high-fat meal."
• Shoveling snow
The vigorous nature of this winter activity, which is often performed without any warm-up time and by people who are not ordinarily physically active, can triple your chances.
• Having a bowel movement
"If you're constipated, and really straining on the toilet, it increases what's called your intra-thoracic pressure," Dr. Travis explains. "That decreases blood returned to your heart and makes your heart work harder."
To keep stool at a healthy viscosity, be sure to add plenty of fiber and fluids to your diet.