We all know that certain foods and lack of exercise can add to the risk of heart attacks. But there are some unusual and surprising things that could possibly trigger a heart attack, according to Bradenton Cardiologist and Daytime's Resident Doctor Srini Iyengar.
Soap? How can soap cause heart problems?
DR. IYENGAR: Well is not so much the soap as one of the main ingredients - Triclosan. It is in antibacterial soap and toothpaste chemical. It has ties to thyroid disease and its role in creating hard-to-kill, antibiotic-resistant germs.
The chemical also increases heart disease risk. There is also new research suggesting it can damage heart and muscle tissue as well.
You say traffic can be dangerous for the heart, even if you are not involved in a car accident?
DR. IYENGAR: Traffic can kill, and we are not just talking about wrecks. Scientists have uncovered a connection between air pollution, traffic jams, and heart attack risk. German researchers interviewed heart attack survivors to try and pinpoint certain heart attack triggers. They found that people stuck in traffic -- whether as a driver, passenger, bike rider, or passenger on public transportation -- experienced a 3.2 times higher risk of having a heart attack compared to people who weren't trapped in a traffic jam.
We've discussed BPA-or bisphenol-A on this show as being a potential carcinogen-but now you say it can also hurt the heart?
DR. IYENGAR: The notoriously toxic chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, is a potent hormone disruptor and is often used in canned goods. The compound is tied to breast cancer, anger problems in female children, obesity, and infertility. And now, it's implicated in heart disease. A 2011 study found even small doses of BPA -- ones we're commonly exposed to -- could lead to dangerous heart arrhythmia, erratic beating that could cause sudden cardiac death.
What about our food choices? We know a double cheeseburger with fries is not good for the ticker-but you say event some health foods are not safe?
DR. IYENGAR: We are specifically talking about fish here. We've been told for years Omega 3s are good and fish is healthy-but the truth is it depends on what type of fish you are eating.
Studies have shown that even a mild increase in mercury levels can blunt cortisol levels. While that sounds like a good thing, it isn't. Your body's cortisol levels naturally peak in the early morning and drop to their lowest point around midnight. Too much mercury in the system, Gump says, could interfere with that natural cycle, causing cortisol levels to remain depressed.
Cortisol is also an anti-inflammatory response. Diminished levels of cortisol lead to a high inflammatory response. Leading to a host of chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and cancer, and mental health problems such as depression, Alzheimer's disease, and dementia.)
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