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Understanding the Impact of Stress on Your Heart

Although you may envision stress as a mental response, stress can also lead to physical changes in the body as well. Over time, stress reactions can affect your heart health, leading to other health concerns that can raise your risk for cardiovascular disease and its associated complications. Managing stress is thus an important part of a healthy heart care program, regardless of your age or lifestyle.

High Blood Pressure

One of the most significant health effects of stress is high blood pressure. When you feel stressed, your body releases stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are meant to have only short-term effects, but when you are stressed for days, weeks, or months on end, they remain at high levels in the body throughout this time. Adrenaline in particular raises your heart rate and your blood pressure in preparation for a “fight or flight” situation. High blood pressure can cause damage to the arteries that carry blood through the body as well as to the heart itself, particularly when it goes unmanaged for long periods of time.

Weight Gain

Another common side effect of chronic stress is difficulty managing your weight. This is because stress can cause several responses that make weight gain more likely, from changes in sleeping patterns and appetite to a decrease in energy levels that reduce your motivation to exercise regularly. Weight is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease; thus, poorly managed weight associated with constant stress can affect your heart health through increased cardiovascular stress, greater levels of cholesterol, and a larger overall risk for a heart attack.


At Tulane Medical Center , we offer complete heart care near New Orleans to help you manage your risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Our hospital and ER offers diagnosis and treatment for chest pain, heart disease, stroke, and more—you can check us out on the web or call our patient referral line for more health tips and information at (504) 988-5263.
Categories: Health Tips, Heart Health