Our American Heart Month newsletter series is focused on raising awareness and promoting heart health. The series will consist of four articles, which will be released once a week throughout the month of February. Each article will cover different aspects of heart health and disease, offering helpful tips and information to encourage readers to prioritize their heart health.
How Stress Affects the Heart
February 17, 2023
There is no life without stress nowadays. Whether you have an upcoming deadline to meet, are struggling with financial woes, or are pushing yourself toward a personal goal, stress is always a part of the equation. But did you know that chronic stress can cause serious heart trouble?
Our body uses the stress response to keep us safe during emergencies, also known as the fight-or-flight response. When it is short-lived, it can help us to meet goals and deadlines more efficiently. However, when stress becomes chronic it can result in subsequent health concerns.
When our body experiences stress, it releases a slew of hormones which cause our heart to beat faster and our blood vessels to narrow. This results in an increase in inflammation and a rise in blood pressure.
Chronic stress can raise your risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) which can increase your likelihood of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. Chronic stress may also lead to stress-related behaviors that can impact overall health, such as poor dietary habits, smoking, alcohol abuse, and living a sedentary lifestyle, all of which also affect the health of our heart.
When we are feeling particularly stressed, chances are we are more likely to skimp out on important things like sleep, cooking a nutritious meal, or getting out and exercising. It can even cause us to isolate ourselves from friends and family which can impact our mental well-being.
Additionally, high-stress levels can result in physical manifestations. Anything from a headache, low energy levels, anxiety, or increased irritation can be a signal from your body that things need to change.
Finding a way to better manage your stress can not only benefit the health of your heart, but it can benefit the health of your entire body and mind. Stress management can decrease your chances of struggling with mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. In fact, those who practice stress management are more likely to feel happiness and gratitude in their daily lives .
Many lifestyle factors can help you to better manage your stress levels. Exercising regularly, prioritizing sleep and time with loved ones, finding a hobby, and maintaining a positive attitude can make a world of a difference in how you feel day to day. There are even some supplements you can include in your diet, such asCitraNOX, which support cardiovascular health and promote optimal blood pressure while you work on coping mechanisms for stress.
Some prefer specific stress management techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to help manage daily stress. There are even How-To videos and apps you can download on your smartphone to help you practice these techniques.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing your stressors. There is a lot of trial and error involved in finding what might work best for you and your lifestyle. Don’t let that impede you from trying new techniques. The impact it has on your health and your heart is well worth it.
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