Understanding the Link Between Chronic Stress and Heart Disease

Experiencing occasional stress is a normal part of life. However, if you are experiencing chronic stress, it can have devastating effects on your body, especially your heart. Your doctor can help.

What You Need to Know about Chronic Stress and Heart Disease

When you experience excessive stress on a daily basis, your body is experiencing:

  • Increased cortisol production, which can lead to fat accumulation, especially around your organs
  • Increased cholesterol in your blood, can lead to fatty plaque buildup on your artery walls
  • Higher blood pressure, which can lead to heart stress and heart disease

When you experience chronic stress, it can also cause diminished blood flow to your heart, resulting in insufficient oxygen and blood reaching your heart. Chronic stress also interferes with clotting ability.

All of these changes can lead to:

  • Chest pain
  • A stroke
  • An embolism
  • A heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Cardiovascular disease

Regular visits to your doctor are important because your doctor can:

  • Monitor your blood pressure and provide medication to lower your blood pressure
  • Monitor your cholesterol and provide medication to lower your cholesterol
  • Monitor the health of your heart and provide tips on how to manage your stress.

To help you manage your stress, your doctor may recommend:

  • Relaxation techniques including yoga and meditation to promote calm
  • Breathing exercises to help you relax, increase oxygen levels, and help lower blood pressure
  • Exercising regularly to decrease stress, keep your heart strong, and promote an overall feeling of wellness

Your doctor may also recommend modifications to your diet, to promote heart health. To help your heart, you should:

  • Avoid fried foods and eat baked foods instead
  • Avoid red meat and eat lean meats like poultry and fish instead
  • Avoid full-fat dairy products and eat low-fat or skim dairy products instead
  • Eat lots of leafy, green vegetables to increase nutrient intake
  • Eat foods high in fiber, to help you feel full while eating fewer calories

Want to Know More?

To learn more about how chronic stress affects your heart, call your doctor today.

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