It’s a question that scientists have been asking for a number of years. How much impact does stress have on the heart? And does stress increase the risk of developing heart disease?
Despite extensive research, the answer is still not entirely clear. The likely conclusion would seem to be that stress is a contributing factor, but whether stress alone can cause heart disease is a question that still remains largely unanswered. However, the evidence has been conclusive enough for scientists to recommend avoiding excessive stress, as the effects are undoubtedly detrimental to health.
Stress: What Happens to Your Body
It’s likely that you will have experienced stress at some point in your life. Indeed, it’s common in 21st century society. Longer working hours, more demanding schedules and less time to relax have all contributed significantly to elevated levels of stress across the country.
When we’re under stress, a series of events occurs in the body. We go into ‘fight or flight’ mode and our systems are flooded with cortisol and adrenaline. Both these hormones cause heart rate to soar, muscles to tense, blood to be directed to the muscles and breathing to quicken.
Originally, this stress reaction would have been useful to humans. For example, when faced with a wild lion, the release of adrenaline and cortisol enabled early Homo Sapiens to flee. However, in our daily lives (and on a regular basis) the release of stress can have seriously negative impact on our health.
Stress and the Heart
It goes without saying that chronic stress is bad for your heart. Here are just a few of the symptoms you may experience:
- Arrhythmia. Continual exposure to stress can cause problems in the muscles of the heart and can lead to abnormal heart rhythms.
- Thickened arteries. Stress releases cholesterol into the bloodstream. Over time, this can cause arteries to narrow, which can increase your chances of having a heart attack.
- Hypertension. Increased blood pressure can lead to hypertension. This results in elevated risks of heart disease, not to mention stroke.
Stress is common. However, this doesn’t mean that you should accept stress in your life and ignore the impact that it may be having on your health. Turning a blind eye to stress can result in serious health problems, including coronary heart disease, stroke and heart attack. In the worst case scenario, it can even lead to death.
It goes without saying that no job is worth it. As a result, it’s sensible to look at your lifestyle with an appraising eye. Think practically about how you can reduce stress in your life. If you’re worried that stress may already have had a detrimental impact on the health of your heart, book yourself in for a check-up with your local cardiovascular specialist.
Monitoring your Heart
If you’re concerned about your heart and think that you may be suffering from some kind of heart condition such as arrhythmia or coronary artery disease, it’s time to book a diagnostic check-up, for peace of mind and reassurance. To book your appointment with Cardiovascular Solutions Institute, simply call us on 941-747-8789.