Stress and Heart Health

Man having chest pain heart attack outdoors Dealing with stress is a common part of daily human life. Trying your best to keep up with appointments, work, helping kids with homework, and everything in between takes a toll on us. When the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic get added into the equation, the strain is enough to burn you out.

Although the world around us appears to get more stressful by the day, managing your stress levels is critical to your heart health.

How Stress Affects the Heart

Stress causes your body to produce the hormones cortisol, epinephrine (or adrenaline), and Norepinephrine. Chronic stress makes the body release hormones at abnormal levels. This can negatively impact your heart if chronic stress continues for an extended period.

Effects such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation
  • Poor blood flow to the heart
  • Increased blood sugar
  • And blood vessel damage has all been linked to stress.

Also, research suggests that chronic stress can be linked to a high likelihood of developing heart disease and stroke. While chronic stress can have a serious impact on your heart, there is a lot that you can do to get your stress levels under control.

Recognize Your Triggers

Chronic stress can be exhausting. Getting back your health and vitality requires you to take time to evaluate stress triggers in your life. Identifying these triggers, and eliminating them is essential to your health. As you discover your triggers, be as honest as possible with yourself and don’t carry embarrassment over what stresses you.  Your triggers are unique to you, and throughout this process, there are areas where you will have to make significant changes. Take note of situations, people, or times of day where you feel tense.

These could include:

  • Work
  • Relationships
  • Social gatherings
  • Finances
  • And others

Pay attention to what stresses you out and change what you can.

Know Your Limits

People have varying levels of stress tolerance, and what makes you feel tense might not affect others, and vice versa.  Consistently pushing yourself beyond your limits raises your blood pressure, and can leave you susceptible to heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease. Step away when you believe you’ve reached your breaking point. Managing stress makes a big difference in the prevention of cardiac-related illnesses.

If you have questions about your cardiac care, our team at Summit Healthcare is ready to help you. If you are in the Show Low area and would like to consult with a cardiologist, give us a call at 928-532-3926.

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