Air pollution, high blood sugar, red meat can hurt heart

While stress, obesity, sedentary lifestyles and smoking can all contribute to heart problems, studies reveal other factors that could contribute to poor heart health:

  • Take a human hair. Now, reduce its size by 1,000 times. That size particle, a source of which can be pollution from vehicle exhaust, could cause plaque build-up in the arteries, according to a story from HealthDay. Plaque build-up, or arteriosclerosis, is a condition that can lead to heart attack and stroke. The University of California study is published in the online edition of Circulation Research.
  • For women, a study suggests increased levels of blood sugar can indicate a higher risk for heart disease, according to Even at lower levels of blood sugar than men, women were found to have a greater chance of developing heart disease.
  • Another study reveals that birth control pills might increase the development of artery-clogging plaques that could hurt the heart. Researchers found that for every 10 years of pill use, the probability of finding the plaques in certain arteries increased 20 percent to 30 percent, according to USA Today.
  • Finally, U.S. researchers report that eating two or more servings of red meat per day can significantly increase the risk of developing conditions that lead to heart disease and diabetes. The finding, reported in the journal Circulation, also revealed that diet soda could increase the risk factors, according to Reuters.

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