3 Ways Your Heart and Your Stress Levels are Connected
Your heart is one of the most essential organs in your body. Your cardiovascular system provides the blood flow needed for you to move and perform daily activities. In addition, it regulates your temperature and helps control other bodily functions such as breathing, digestion, and hormone production. Although we all know that our heart plays a vital role in our health, many people don’t realize that stress can affect its function and increase the risk of heart disease. Let’s explore how stress can contribute to an unhealthy cardiovascular system.
1. Increases Your Blood Pressure
Stress can cause your blood pressure to rise. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Your heart must work harder than usual to pump blood through your body. This can lead to more problems, such as coronary artery disease (CAD) and arrhythmias.
There are things you can do to control stress and manage high blood pressure:
- Eat right – eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken or fish
- Exercise regularly – anything from brisk walking up stairs at work will help lower stress levels
2. Higher Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke
Stress can raise your risk of a heart attack or stroke by increasing your body’s stress hormones. These hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, cause blood vessels to narrow, which can cause blood clots to form. Blood clots are one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes.
If you have high blood pressure or diabetes and are under stress, this can also increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke because these conditions make it more likely for blood vessels to become damaged in response to physical activity or emotional stressors like anger or frustration.
3. Disrupts Your Gut Flora Which Impacts Heart Health
Stress can change the gut flora in your body, which can affect heart health. Gut flora is bacteria found in the intestines and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract that help with digestion and other processes. They’re also known as gut microflora or microbiota, and they may directly correlate to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors such as high blood pressure—while some strains of bacteria may lower blood pressure, others have been shown to raise it.
Your Heart and Stress Are Linked In Many Different Ways
Stress can cause various symptoms, including chest pain, shortness of breath, and irregular heartbeat. When stressed, your body releases hormones that increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This puts extra strain on your heart and increases the risk for life-threatening conditions such as heart attack or stroke.
If you find that stress is getting in the way of your heart health, there are many things you can do to help yourself out. Start by talking to your doctor about any unusual symptoms or feelings. Having someone to talk with about what’s going on will help relieve some of the pressure.
Try some relaxation techniques such as meditation or mindfulness exercises. These approaches effectively manage chronic stress and reduce anxiety levels, which can lead to better health outcomes like decreased cardiovascular risk factors.
Written by Geraldine Orentas