Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How Does Stress Cause Heart Disease

What Is The Proven Most Frequent Predictive Issue For A Heart Attack

Does Stress Increase My Risk of Developing Heart Disease?

More predictive than diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or even smoking? The feeling of social isolation, or loneliness.

Yes, a FEELING or emotion is a better predictor for heart attacks or cardiac events than any of those other PHYSICAL malfunctions. Which along with supporting the physical body or your human suit as I like to say, it is also vitally important to be aware, connected, coherent in your heart. Your heart sets the rhythm literally and energetically for the rest of your body.We know, studies prove this to us, and its even well known in conventional medicine, that people who have heart attacks or strokes tend to sink into depression and stress after it occurs. And its equally as well know that people who are sad or depressed or have high stress have a much higher chance of having an adverse cardiovascular event.

By taking as much time as you need to place all of your focus on how to better manage your stress and depression, it could help to reduce the risk of you developing what could be catastrophic health fatalities in the long run. Some people may prefer to speak to a counsellor whilst others may decide to pay a visit to somewhere like this colorado pot shop to see how different cannabis-infused products can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of these particular health ailments. In turn, the likelihood of you experiencing a serious cardiovascular event could be limited.

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How Does Stress Contribute To Heart Attacks

Surprisingly, the connection between emotional stress levels and heart attacks may not be as apparent as one might believe. While it is certainly a good idea to reduce both physical and emotional stress levels, the scenario of suffering a massive heart attack immediately following an emotionally stressful event is most likely more myth than fact. Stress in and of itself does not create a fatal heart condition.

If anything, a certain amount of physical stress, whether it be exercise or work-related, can actually be beneficial to cardiovascular health. The more a muscle is challenged or exercised, the stronger it becomes. A reasonable amount of physical stress strengthens the heart muscles and should reduce the probability of heart attacks or other heart diseases. If a weakened or diseased heart is overworked through excessive physical exertion, however, it can reach a failure point. Physical stress, however, is not generally considered responsible for weakening heart muscles or aggravating an existing heart condition.

Medstar Heart & Vascular Institute Is Here For You

When I meet a new patient, I inquire about their lifestylework, family, habits, exercise, diet, and stressors large and small.

Answers to some simple questions can be really helpful in pinpointing major stress factors in their lives. Its important to look beyond obvious medical questions and get to know someone a bit in order to help resolve their heart health issues. Patients may not even realize that their work, commute, or family situation is directly connected to heart symptoms.

My message to anyone who is experiencing heart symptoms, stress-related or not: dont delay care. If you are concerned about the effects of chronic stress on your heart, schedule a cardiology appointment or telehealth visit with us, even if current symptoms dont seem urgent. We can conduct a virtual online visit with you to discuss your questions and concerns and determine if and when it is time for you to see us onsite for further attention.

We have state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and a variety of other resources to help deliver the safest and best care to our patients during these tough times. We have options to help you feel safe, comfortable, and less stressed.

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Aim For Healthy Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Numbers

Having healthy blood pressure and cholesterol ranges are some of the first steps you can take for a healthy heart. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury . A healthy blood pressure is considered less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, which is often expressed as 120 over 80 or 120/80 mm Hg. Systolic is the measurement of pressure while the heart is contracting. Diastolic is the measurement when the heart is resting. Higher numbers indicate that the heart is working too hard to pump blood.

Your ideal cholesterol level will depend on your risk factors and heart health history. If youre at a high risk of heart disease, have diabetes, or have already had a heart attack, your target levels will be below those of people with low or average risk.

High Blood Pressure Is Another Sign That You May Be Developing Heart Disease How Often Should You Get Your Blood Pressure Checked

How does stress contribute to cardiovascular disease ...

High blood pressure is definitely a risk factor and probably one of the most challenging risk factors for heart disease and cardiovascular disease in general, because it is so silent.

Its very hard to know that your blood pressure is high. Ive had patients tell me, I feel like my blood pressure is so high. And while thats a subjective thought, its likely not necessarily something you can always feel. Now, if youre at the point where you are symptomatic from that high blood pressure, like with blurred vision or chest pain or difficulty breathing, then its at a really bad point.

Thats why getting your blood pressure checked regularly is really important. Most doctors offices will check it every single time you come in its a standard vital. But at least a few times a year, people should know what their blood pressure numbers are.

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How Does All This Affect A Heart Attack

Our problem now is: how does the action of adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine create a heart attack?

It might seem strange that it could do this, as its obviously an important process in the body.

Weve also seen that inflammation, that is controlled by the immune system, plays a large role in heart disease.

Inflammation creates the foam cells within the plaque. Its important to note, however, that a single stress response does little damage. Its when the responses get out of control and come one after the other that the problems begin. When this occurs your immune system can become desensitized to cortisol and since cortisol controls the overall stress response, this can allow inflammation to get out of control.

Adrenaline also triggers the release of fibrinogen, a blood-clotting agent, and if too much adrenaline is created, too much fibrinogen will also be created, which is a serious risk factor for a heart attack.

Its also important to note that in most cases several small attacks that are barely noticed frequently preceded the main one. A small crack occurs in the cap and a corresponding small blood clot occurs that does not block off the artery and may be barely noticed.

Clots of these types dissolve quickly and the cap heals over, but several of them set the stage for a larger crack and much larger blood clot as the cap weakens. And these smaller attacks are usually triggered by stress.

Physical Stress And The Heart

Physical stressexercise or other forms of physical exertionplaces measurable and reproducible demands on the heart. This physical stress is generally acknowledged to be good. In fact, the lack of physical stress constitutes a major risk factor for coronary artery disease. So this kind of stress is usually considered to be beneficial to the heart.

If you have significant underlying heart disease, however, too much physical stress can be potentially dangerous. In a person who has coronary artery disease, exercise that is too intense can place demands on the heart muscle that the diseased coronary arteries cannot meet, and the heart becomes ischemic The ischemic heart muscle can cause either angina , or a heart attack .

So physical stressthat is, exerciseis generally very good for you, and is generally to be encouraged . And unless the exercise is extraordinarily excessive, physical stress does not actually cause heart disease.

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Sudden Stress Can Cause Broken Heart Syndrome Which Feels Like A Heart Attack

One of the most dramatic ways stress can affect your heart is by causing takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome.

This feels just like a heart attack, with symptoms including chest pain and shortness of breath, but it is a different condition altogether, says Lauren Gilstrap, MD, a cardiologist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

Those symptoms come on suddenly, triggered by a stressful emotional event, such as the sudden death of a loved one. Its presentation isnt subtle, Gilstrap says. People think theyre having a heart attack.

However, thats not the case. A heart attack occurs when an artery to the heart is blocked. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy has no underlying blockages. Its exact causes arent known, but are thought to be tied to a sudden hormonal surge from the bodys fight or flight response.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a fundamentally different phenomenon than a heart attack, Gilstrap says. The arteries are completely fine and the blood supply is completely normal, but all of a sudden, the heart doesnt squeeze.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is most common in women aged 58 to 75, who make up more than 90% of cases. Doctors arent entirely sure why, but one study found that women experience higher rates of emotional stress. About 5% of women who think theyre having a heart attack are actually experiencing stress-induced cardiomyopathy.

Ways To Manage Stress And Help Your Heart

Local heart disease expert says acute emotional stress can cause Broken Heart Syndrome

Want to turn your stress around and help your heart in the process? Try these five simple tips.

  • Stay positive. People with heart disease who maintain an upbeat attitude are less likely to die than those who are more negative, according to research. Just having a good laugh can help your heart. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

  • Meditate. This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Anyone can learn to meditate. Just take a few minutes to sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Meditation’s close relatives, yoga and prayer, can also relax the mind and body.

  • Exercise. Every time you are physically active, whether you take a walk or play tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away stress, but it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart muscle, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.

  • Unplug. It’s impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Cut the cord. Avoid emails and TV news. Take time each dayeven if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutesto escape from the world.

  • Find your own path to stress relief. Take a bubble bath, listen to music, or read a book. Any technique is effective if it works for you.

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    How Does Stress Lead To Heart Attacks

    Psychosocial stress can be short-term or long-term, and both types have been associated with heart disease. Exactly how stress leads to a heart attack is still being studied.

    Emotional stress can lead to an increase in blood pressure, or hypertension, which subsequently leads to heart disease and plaque buildup in the coronary arteries. Emotional stress also can lead to increased level of stress hormones, or cortisol. These hormones affect platelets and autonomic tone, which is how your body controls involuntary functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. All these factors play a role in heart disease.

    Stress also can lead to unhealthy mechanisms to cope with stress, such as stress eating or substance abuse, and not exercising, which in turn can lead to heart disease.

    Also, short-term severe stressful situations often can cause severe but usually temporary heart failure. This condition is called broken heart syndrome, also known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, apical ballooning syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy.

    What Mental Health Disorders Are Related To Heart Disease

    Some of the most commonly studied mental health disorders associated with heart disease or related risk factors include the following:*

    Mood Disorders: People living with mood disorders, such as major depression or bipolar disorder, find that their mood affects both psychological and mental well-being nearly every day for most of the day.

    Anxiety Disorders: People respond to certain objects or situations with fear, dread, or terror. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorders, and phobias.

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder : People can experience PTSD after undergoing a traumatic life experience, such as war, natural disaster, or any other serious incident.

    Chronic Stress: People are in a state of uncomfortable emotional stressaccompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological, and behavioral changesthat is constant and persists over an extended period of time.

    *There may be other behavioral health disorders, such as substance use disorders, that are connected to heart disease.

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    How To Stay Heart Healthy Even When Youre Down

    When youre feeling down, its easy to reach for your favorite comfort food or skip a workout. But thinking about your heart health is important, even when youre not feeling too chipper.

    When people are stressed, anxious or depressed, they may feel overwhelmed, so theyre not apt to make healthy lifestyle choices. They may be more likely to smoke more, not be physically active,

    sleep too little or too much, drink too much alcohol and fail to take their prescribed medications. Over time, these unhealthy behaviors can increase the risk for heart disease.

    Trauma, depression, anxiety and stress can lead to changes that can affect your health, and not just because you may fall into habits that are bad for your heart. Research shows that mental health also has physiologic effects on the body.

    Depression is reported in over 7% of Americans ages 18 and older, and the figure can be as high as 20% for post-heart attack patients.

    Actions For Health Care Professionals

    Stress: An underappreciated risk factor for heart disease
    • Learn more about the link between mental health and heart disease19 with the following resources:
    • Talk to your patients about the relationship between mental health and heart disease.1,28,39,45,46
    • Incorporate mental health screening and treatment into care surrounding a major heart disease event and chronic disease.2,6,8,17,21,25,32,40,45,47
    • Involve individuals and their family members in communication and decision making regarding treatment following a heart disease event.15
    • For patients with severe mental health disorders and pre-existing heart disease or its risk factors:21
    • Consider prescribing or switching a patient to a psychotropic medication with lower risk for heart disease, while weighing any clinical benefits and potential for adverse events.
    • Consider the potential interactions between prescribed medicines for heart disease and prescribed psychotropic medications.
    • Monitor heart health outcomes and risk factors, and adjust doses of heart disease medicines if required.

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    What Is Acute Stress

    Acute stress happens to everyone. This type of stress is a response to sudden or scary situations like when your friends jump out and yell surprise or when you narrowly miss a pothole while going downhill on a bicycle.

    For most people, acute stress doesnt have any lasting effects on their overall health. In some situations, this type of stress can even be a good thing like when its down to the final point on trivia night and your teammates are looking to you for the answer. Experiencing this type of acute stress can help your body get better at handling stress in the future.

    Ideally, your acute stress and the flight-or-fight response that comes with it should only be temporary. Once you score the winning point for your team, the physical symptoms of stress should go away, your body should return to its natural state, and there should be no long-term effects on your health. But thats not always the case with acute stress.

    When acute stress can affect physical health

    Acute stress may affect your heart health if your body isnt able to quickly recover following the stressful event. For example:

    • You experience severe acute stress. After experiencing a traumatic or life-threatening event, some people can remain stressed about the event for up to a month.
    • You experience frequent instances of acute stress. Some people may experience acute stress multiple times throughout a week or a single day due to their job, anxiety or other mental health conditions.

    Can Stress Cause A Heart Attack

    Stress can trigger insomnia, exacerbate digestive problems and cause muscle tension that leads to body aches.

    But can stress cause a heart attack? Or is it just a dire, unsubstantiated warning offered by concerned family and friends along the lines of “You’ll catch pneumonia if you go outside with your hair wet”?

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    Chronic Stress Can Cause Heart Trouble Too

    Initially, takotsubo cardiomyopathy was identified in patients who experienced sudden, extreme stress. But doctors now recognize that it can also occur in people who have more prolonged stressors such as a major project at work or relationship stress at home, Gilstrap says.

    Chronic stress is also linked to heart disease in a number of ways. Experiencing chronic stress, including that from racial biases, poverty, or relationship troubles, increases your risk of hypertension, according to a 2013 study in Current Hypertension Reports. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease.

    Stress can also contribute to unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking or overeating, all of which are tied to adverse effects on heart health, according to the American Heart Association.

    Type A Behavior Job Stress And Coronary Heart Disease

    Can stress cause heart disease? Dr. Anand Shenoy

    Numerous surveys confirm that occupational pressures are far and away the leading source of stress for American adults and that job stress has escalated progressively over the past four decades. While the causes for this vary with occupations and positions, most contributors fall into the following categories:

    How Work And Tasks Are Designed Heavy workload infrequent rest breaks long work hours and shift work hectic and routine tasks that: have little inherent meaning, do not allow workers to utilize their skills, and most importantly, provide little sense of control.

    Management Style Lack of participation by workers in decision-making poor communication in the organization lack of company policies that take employees family and personal obligations into consideration.

    Interpersonal Relationships Poor social environment and lack of support or help from co-workers and supervisors.

    Vague Or Changing Job Description Conflicting or uncertain job expectations too much responsibility too many hats to wear too many superiors, co-workers or customers making very different demands.

    Concerns About Employment Or Career Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for advancement, or promotion rapid changes for which workers are unprepared due to unanticipated downsizing, mergers and hostile acquisitions.

    Environmental Concerns Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions in the workplace such as crowding, noise, air pollution, or failure to address ergonomic problems.

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