The term heart disease is often used interchangeably with the term cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack. Constipation could be a lesser-known warning sign of heart disease. How?
Constipation could be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease, according to Harvard Medical School.
If you’re feeling constipated, you’re more likely to strain while using the toilet, which could raise blood pressure, it said.
Having high blood pressure increases your risk of coronary heart disease.
“About one in five adults’ copes with a more chronic form of constipation, which is commonly defined as hard, dry, and small bowel movements that are painful or difficult to pass,” said Harvard Medical School.
“In the Japanese general population, low‐frequency defecation (once per two to three days) is a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular deaths than high‐frequency defecation (more than once per day).
“Another study has shown that the prevalence of constipation among Japanese patients hospitalised for cardiovascular disease was 47 percent, and 46 percent of this population (ie, 21.6 percent of the total population) only developed constipation after admission.
“The link between constipation and cardiovascular events might involve a change in intestinal microbiota.
“Aging is well recognized as one of the most important risks for both constipation and cardiovascular disease.
“Therefore, the increase in the prevalence of constipation with age parallels that of cardiovascular disease.”
“On average, most people move their bowels about once a day. But there’s actually a wide range of what’s considered normal, from three times a day to once every three days,” said the NHS.
The national health body continued: “How often you go is less important than the consistency of your stools and how much effort you need to get them out.”
Constipation is relatively common and affects people of all ages.
You could be feeling constipated if you haven’t had a poo at least three times in a single week.
If you do have constipation, you can make your poo softer – meaning you’re less likely to strain – by drinking more fluids or increasing the amount of fibre in your diet.