Category Archives: Stress
Stress is an inclusive term, but different kinds of stress have very different implications for the heart. Unfortunately, stress is synonymous with problems and resultant poor health due to the typical modern American lifestyle. When we discuss stress, we often focus on the issues in our lives that trigger our inherent fight or flight reaction. Historically, this was only activated when we, as humans, experienced life or death situations. However, as these genuinely frightening occurrences have become rare, the consequences of sustained chronic stress have proliferated. Chronic stress releases several hormones into the body that can cause us to gain weight increase our cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
With heart disease as the leading killer of adults, both male and female, in the United States, we must be aware of its consequences and develop ways to prevent it. Of course, improved diet and exercise as well as proper screening is critically important to improving both overall health and the function of your heart. And while our jobs and lives may require it, stress has truly gotten out of control. Indeed, our bodies are naturally programmed to experience stress, just not at the sustained levels that we do today.
Stress is at the core of a very important fight or flight reaction. Prior to the modern comforts that we enjoy, humans needed to escape threats on a regular basis. The fight or flight stress response allowed hormones and chemicals to be released into the body that increased our focus and power to escape the potential harm. Today, that response permeates large swaths of our lives, whether it is at work or at home, due to stress.
Stress Awareness Month comes around each April and you guessed it, today’s blog will discuss stress and how it affects the heart. The effect of stress on the heart is a concept that is pretty well-known to most. But do you really know much about the full breath of issues that stress causes? And is what you think you know truth or myth?
Before we get started it is important to understand that this is stress AWARENESS month, not stress prevention month. Why? Stress is unavoidable. If you have emotions, you have stress. Rather, it is how you manage the stress that makes a difference in your heart health.
Stress is unavoidable. Especially in today’s world — a pandemic, political polarization, economic hardship — experiencing some stress (maybe lots) is inevitable. Stress has more physical effects on your body than just the knot in your stomach and anxiety, it also can affect your heart. There are some things you should know when it comes to how the stressors in life can lead to heart problems, and ways you can avoid it getting that far.