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The Heart-Stress Connection

March 16, 2020

One way to prevent heart disease is to manage stress.  But how are heart disease and stress-related?  

When you experience a stressful situation, your body produces the hormone cortisol in response. Cortisol temporarily raises your blood pressure; your heart rate increases and your blood vessels contract. If we deal with stress on a regular basis, our blood pressure rises regularly.  Researchers are not yet sure whether these repetitive, temporary spikes in blood pressure contribute to long-term high blood pressure, but they think it may be possible. In addition, it is possible that the stress response may damage your arteries, another factor in developing heart disease.

Even without knowing the long-term effects of stress on our blood pressure, we do know that how we deal with the stress and our behaviors to “manage” it can have a negative impact on the heart. How many times have you dealt with the stress of a deadline by cutting out sleep? What about overeating or drinking alcohol to relax or otherwise avoid a stressful or anxious situation? While these behaviors are not critical when they occur once in a while, engaging in them on a regular basis can be critical to your overall health.

A big part of maintaining heart health is to manage stress in a healthy way.

Here are our suggestions for a productive and low-stress lifestyle:

xoxo
Salus Team

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