Heart-related diseases are still a major menace in Kenya. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases have been the leading causes of deaths worldwide with heart attack leading in line, followed by stroke.

Although some heart problems are congenital, others are caused by everyday habits that we can avoid. For instance, these common habits may be slowly harming your heart unknowingly:

1. Not caring about your belly fat

Belly fat

Eating certain foods and not exercising can cause belly fat. When you have too much fat around your belly, you won’t just miss wearing your favorite crop top but you are also putting your heart’s health at risk. One study found that women who had more belly fat had a 10-20% greater risk of a heart attack as compared to those who carried fat in other areas such as their legs and hips.

So, in as much as you would like to ignore your ‘love handles’, you need to at least workout and lose the extra pounds around your waist.

ALSO READ: 6 common habits that cause belly fat

2. Smoking/living with a smoker

Smoking causes heart related diseases

If you don’t smoke but you live with a smoker, you are not lucky. Smoking is known to constrict the blood vessels resulting in blood pressure. High blood pressure, on the other hand, is a known cause of cardiovascular diseases.

3. Leading a sedentary lifestyle

Couple watching(The Trent)

Your desk job is great. But the lack of movement is no good for the health of your heart. Researchers have found a link between sedentary behaviors and increased cardiovascular deaths. On the other hand, increased physical activities were found to reduce the rate of cardiovascular deaths.

After a few hours, leave your desk, take a walk or dance a little to keep your heart healthy and happy.

4. Consuming too much salt

Salt

Salt is our favorite seasoning but it needs to be consumed with moderation. Sodium, a major element in salt, plays an important role in balancing the body fluids. However, too much of it causes high blood pressure. When consumed for a prolonged period, it strains the arteries causing hypertension.

World Health Organization reports that high blood pressure is a major cause of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. In the early stages, hypertension causes no symptoms and many people, therefore, go undiagnosed.

5. Drinking too much alcohol

Variety of Alcohol on display

There are conflicting findings in regards to alcohol consumption and heart health. Some researchers believe that moderate consumption of alcohol help in improving heart health while others believe that no amount of alcohol is good for the heart.

Even so, an excessive amount of alcohol has always been known to cause adverse health implications. Alcohol is loaded with calories that are likely to cause obesity, diabetes and even high blood pressure. These three conditions predispose one to cardiovascular diseases.