How does stress affect your heart?

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How does stress affect your heart?

Beyond the feeling of tension or the nervousness that affects us emotionally or psychologically, stress has consequences for the heart and the body in general; it can alter the appearance of our skin, the regularity of our menstrual cycles and, of course, our heart health. He also plays a leading role in psychological illnesses such as anxiety, depression, among others.

Why stress affects our health

Stress is a reaction of our body to constantly repeated stimuli such as fear, tension, pressure, but also other situations such as cold, fatigue or joy.

Stress is a physical response of our body to all these conditions and it is, basically, natural. When channeled, it is not a problem. When we struggle to manage it, however, and accumulate in our body, our mind and body begin to suffer: we feel tired, defensive, tense, sad, discouraged or nervous. When we are stressed by something, our body reacts:

  • It releases stress-related hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
  • It causes an acceleration of breathing and heart rate.
  • It puts our muscles under tension, especially in sensitive areas like the neck or back.
  • It increases nervousness and alertness.
  • It makes our brain work faster.

When these reactions occur frequently, there is a risk to our health. Frequent stress can promote the appearance of symptoms such as:

  • Insomnia.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Anxiety and emotional disorders
  • Various stomach problems such as gastritis, ulcers or irritable bowel .
  • Heart disorders that put your heart’s health at risk.

Stress raises blood pressure

Several studies and research show that people who lead stressful lives are more likely to develop heart disease , especially if they lead to a sedentary lifestyle and have an unbalanced diet.

Under stress, the body produces various hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, because of the body’s response to stress and danger. These hormones increase blood pressure . High pressure can, in the long run, make the arteries stiffer and narrower, leading to arteriosclerosis and increasing the risk of having a heart attack.

Stress raises cholesterol and triglycerides

It is imperative to maintain an adequate level of LDL cholesterol, known as bad cholesterol. Indeed, it is essential to ensure our general well-being and, in particular, the health of our heart. When cholesterol levels are too high, these lipids can not be used by the body to produce energy. They accumulate in the body, especially in our coronary arteries. This increases the risk of clogging the arteries that could be responsible for angina pectoris or various heart diseases.

Studies have shown that intense stress increases cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, perhaps because the hormones we produce when we are tight prevent the elimination of lipids. This increase may be due to the fact that this type of stress requires more energy and that the liver should therefore produce more cholesterol to provide us with this necessary energy. Although the exact causes of this physical reaction are still unknown, the results have shown that it provides an additional explanation for how stress affects the heart.

Stress can change our heart rate

The change in heart rate is one of the first symptoms of stress .. Indeed, the heartbeat accelerates when we are under stress. If we find ourselves often in this situation, our normal rhythm could be completely disturbed and cause the appearance of various pathologies that endanger this important organ.

Excess stress increases the risk of heart attack

If you have a history of heart problems and are wondering what the consequences of stress are on the heart , be careful because research has shown that the patients most likely to have heart problems because of stress are those who have already suffered from heart disease.

Continuous stress increases the risk of heart attack due to increased blood pressure and potential artery clogging. In addition, stress and anxiety can often lead to more intense pain in the chest. It also takes longer to recover from a heart condition.

How to fight against stress?

You must learn to manage your stress to ensure your overall well-being and preserve the health of your heart. That’s why in this article of everythingHow we will give you some tips:

  • Avoid situations or people who generate stress unnecessarily . The less you expose yourself to stressful situations, the better.
  • Decrease your intake of stimulating foods that increase your alert level such as coffee, chocolate, alcohol, tonic drinks or energy drinks. A healthy diet, low in fats and sugars is also recommended.
  • Exercise regularly, at least 4 times a week. Sport and physical activity are one of the best ways to relieve tension and change our body’s response to stress.
  • Regularly practice relaxing activities such as meditation, yoga or Pilates exercises. The breathing exercises will also allow you to eliminate the stress accumulated during the day.
  • Listen to music and melodies that relax you and help you eliminate tension. Read a good book, watch a good movie, or go out with friends. These activities will allow you to escape and have a good time, which reduces stress. Take the time, every day, to carry out an activity that relaxes you , your body will be grateful to you.

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