How can stress affect your heart?
Stress is a normal part of life. It can come from everyday pressures with work and family, or it can be caused by significant life events such as an illness, financial situation or death of a loved one. Barry Feldman, MD, Palmetto Heart, explained why having too much stress, for too long, is not heart healthy.
- Increased levels of stress hormones. Chronic stress exposes your body to unhealthy, persistently elevated levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
- Increased heart disease risk factors. Stress can make you more likely to experience other heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, chest pain or irregular heartbeats.
- Dealing with stress can simply be unhealthy. If you respond to stress in unhealthy ways, such as smoking, overeating or not exercising, you can make matters worse for your heart health.
- Changes in blood clots. Studies link stress to blood clots. Stress can lead to changes in blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attack.
“Although there are many heart disease risk factors you can’t control, stress is one you can control,” said Dr. Feldman. “Finding ways to eliminate or manage stress – meditation, lifestyle and exercise – can significantly decrease your risk and lead to a healthier lifestyle.”
Prisma Health has a quick online heart risk assessment, or quiz, that anyone can take to understand their individualized risk. Complete the heart risk assessment by clicking here.
For further questions about your heart health and what you can do to decrease your risk of heart disease, contact your doctor.
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