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Can Stress Affect Your Risk For Heart Disease?

We know that stress is a contributor to heart disease, the number one killer of Americans. According to the American Heart Association, when your body goes through a stressful event, a chain of reactions occurs. Your body releases adrenaline, causing your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure to increase. This causes your body to go into what’s known as — the “fight or flight” response.

Stress can cause additional issues and may lead to headaches, back strain, or stomachaches. Stress can also make you feel tired and overwhelmed.

A few studies have examined how well treatment or therapies work in reducing the effects of stress on cardiovascular disease. Studies using psychosocial therapies – involving both psychological and social aspects – are promising in the prevention of second heart attacks. After a heart attack or stroke, people who feel depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed by stress should talk to their doctor or other healthcare professionals.

How to Protect Your Heart

If you’re struggling with any kind of stress, recognize that it can have harmful consequences. These steps can help you protect your heart during stressful times:

Get professional advice. Discuss your stress levels with your health care provider. This is especially important if you have other risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity or high blood pressure. Sometimes, just talking with your doctor can convince you to change your lifestyle.

Let stress motivate you. Turn stress into a reason to exercise instead of using it as an excuse to avoid physical activity. When you have a stressful day, taking a break to walk with friends over lunch can take your mind away from the grind.

Exercising, maintaining a positive attitude, not smoking, not drinking too much coffee, enjoying a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are good ways to deal with stress.

The American Heart Association and state that managing stress is good for your overall health, and researchers are currently studying whether managing stress is effective for heart disease.


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