It’s never easy dealing with high stress levels. Whether you feel overburdened with work or you have something going on in your personal life that is contributing to your stress levels, it can be difficult to figure out what to do. Unfortunately, stress does a lot more than reduce quality of life, it can take a toll on your heart health as well. In this blog, we’re going to talk about how stress impacts your heart and how you can prevent this.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America and worldwide. Also known as cardiovascular disease, heart disease refers to a wide range of conditions that cause blood vessels to narrow or close, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Some of the most common risk factors of heart disease include high cholesterol levels and blood pressure, lack of exercise, smoking, and of course, high stress levels. Oftentimes, people will smoke or drink alcohol to reduce stress, but this can lead to damaged arteries.

Although more research is needed to fully understand how stress affects our bodies, one thing is for certain: stress does a lot more harm to our bodies than we give it credit for. We often associate stress with headaches, back pain, and feelings of anxiousness; however, high stress levels go much deeper than this. It also has the ability to affect our sleep patterns, alter our mood and way of thinking, and wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy way of life.

Many doctors believe that stress is closely related to our body’s fight or flight mechanism. When faced with a difficult decision, your body releases adrenaline. This hormone causes your heart rate to increase, blood pressure to rise and alters your breathing. Although this reaction was helpful during a time when humans needed to make split-second decisions to save their lives, it could be our greatest enemy in modern times. Instead of our bodies using this adrenaline rush to make life-saving decisions, our bodies stay in this state for weeks or months at a time. This all leads to restricted blood flow and more strain on our heart.

How Can You Manage Stress?

Although we could tell you to stop living complicated lives and working so much, that wouldn’t really help the situation. We all have things that we need to get done, and many of us enjoy staying busy.

A good way to start would be to understand how stress has impacted your life. Has stress caused you to overeat, avoid exercise, or eat unhealthy food? Have you started smoking or drinking more alcohol than usual? Are you getting less sleep than you used to? Not only will these increase your risk of contracting heart disease, but they could be increasing your stress levels, making it even more difficult to deal with the issue.  

Contact Stockton Cardiology

Managing stress and anxiety isn’t easy, but you don’t have to tackle the issue alone. Seeking help from friends and family is a great way relieve some stress and speak about ways to make your life more manageable. If you’re worried about high stress levels, you should also speak with a cardiologist at Stockton Cardiology. We will work with you to determine what exactly is causing the stress and create a plan to get you back on track to living a heart-healthy life. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.