Each person experiences and responds to stress differently. Stress can slowly but steadily affect the heart health, resulting in heart attacks, irregular heartbeats, heart failure, or stroke. Nonetheless, a person with heart problems might not even be aware that stress is the root of their problems.
Chronic stress has been connected to many negative health outcomes, from a congested daily commute, an unhappy marriage, or an overbearing boss. Your emotions, sleep, and appetite may also be affected due to stress.
Severe, acute stress can harm the cardiovascular system, as observed in the case of broken heart syndrome (ref. link). But what about regular stress factors like rush-hour traffic, marital conflict, and workplace anxiety?
Although it hasn’t been proven, it has been hypothesised that stress causes inflammation, a known cause of heart disease. However, there may be additional subtle ways in which stress might lead to heart disease. Some people act in ways that enhance their risk for heart disease when they are under stress.
As per reports (ref. link), people suffer from depression, anxiety, stress, and even Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), over a long period of time may experience certain physiologic effects on the body. These include increased cardiac reactivity (e.g., increased heart rate and blood pressure), reduced blood flow to the heart, and heightened levels of cortisol. These effects over time, can lead to calcium buildup in the arteries, metabolic disease, and heart disease.
Stress can undoubtedly have significant physiological consequences on the body, especially the heart. This is especially true when an abrupt and strong (acute) stressor has occurred.
Blood sugar levels rise along with the blood’s amount of stress hormones. The blood vessel walls may become inflamed if those sugar levels are higher than what the body requires. Inflammation can cause cholesterol-rich plaque to accumulate in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.
The illness, also referred to as “broken heart syndrome (ref. link),” affects women significantly and more frequently than males, even in people who have never had heart problems. Always keep in mind that stress and anxiety can have subtle impacts on your heart. There are frequently minimal or no symptoms associated with serious illnesses such as high blood pressure, excessive hormone production, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Yet they may have a significant long-term influence.
Your body experiences physical effects from stress. Anxiety is a sign that you’re stressed out. However, taking medication for anxiety issues does not treat chronic stress.
If you want to reduce your stress and have a healthy heart, try these easy suggestions.
Your chance of developing heart disease can increase if you work a demanding job that doesn’t provide you with many opportunities to make decisions or pays little. Work stress becomes much more problematic when you lack a solid support network or suffer from chronic anxiety.
Physical and mental pressures are virtually hard-wired into our existence in today’s fast-paced world. Total stress avoidance is not realistic. Find stress-relieving techniques that are effective for you to lessen the negative effects of ongoing tension on the heart, such as exercise, deep breathing, prayer, meditation or mindfulness, yoga, or massage, to name a few.
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Constant stress can affect the heart adversely by increasing the blood pressure levels and producing excess stress hormones (ref. link).
While experiencing stress or anxiety, the body produces adrenaline and cortisol which make the heart rate increase rapidly. This may result in a lot of people experiencing chest pains, sweating or other discomforts. –
Chest pain is common during both a heart attack and an anxiety attack. However, the basic difference between the two is the kind of pain. During a panic attack or anxiety pain the chest pain feels like stabbing or sharp sting in the centre of the chest while during a heart attack, the pain resembles pressure and squeeze.
There are various ways to ease chest pain caused by stress and anxiety.
While suffering from anxiety the body is prompted to go into flight or fight response triggering hormones such as adrenaline. This leads to the heart beat faster and the muscle to get tense.
Other Heart Health Topics To Explore:
AFib Symptoms | Persistent Atrial Fibrillation | Acid Reflux | Increased Heart Rate | Healthy Heart Diet | Heart Arrhythmia | Heart Palpitation | Running Heart Rate Zones | Silent heart attack | Best Heart Rate Monitors