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.
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.
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.