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Hidden Heart Disease Risks You Didn’t Know About

Heart disease is sometimes called the “silent killer” because it will creep up on seemingly healthy people and take their lives without warning. We know the standard risks for heart disease and heart attacks such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. However, there are a number of other risks for heart disease that are just as alarming and equally fatal. Here are six hidden heart disease risks you may not have been aware of:

1. Psoriasis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

People with rheumatoid arthritis have a 70% higher risk of heart disease than those without it due to the inflammation of muscles and joints caused by the condition.

2. Shingles

There has been a 41% rise of heart disease risk in people who have contracted shingles. Medical professionals suggest that if you are 50 years of age and over, you should consider getting the vaccine.

3. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

The risk of OSA for people over age 65 is 56%. The risk for heart disease in those with OSA is due largely in part to the rise in blood pressure (BP) when after a long pause between breaths, sudden choking or gasping for air causes BP to surge.

4. Depression

We often hear that heart disease can cause depression in patients, but rarely do we hear how depression can lead to heart disease. Depression does lead to behaviors like smoking and drinking which can impact heart health. But, there is also a heart condition, Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy (TC) caused by depression. “Broken heart syndrome,” as it is sometimes called, mimics a heart attack and presents in two percent of those seen for heart attack symptoms.

5. Flu and Pneumonia

According to a 2018 New England Journal of Medicine study, people who had heart attacks were six times more likely to have them a week following the flu or pneumonia.

6. Type 2 Diabetes

This isn’t really a hidden risk, not for those who live with the disease. However, the data is too important not to mention: 68% of those over 65 with type 2 diabetes die from some type of heart disease.

As with anything, the best way to stay healthy is to have regular check ups and to seek the advice of your doctor. If you are concerned for your health, give them a call immediately, call 911 or head to your nearest emergency room. Do not wait. Your life depends on it.

Did you know about these hidden risks? Tell us what you think in the comments below. You can also contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to You can also find us on TwitterFacebook, InstagramLinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!

About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!

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