The Long-Term Effects of Stress on the Heart

It’s long been known that significant or chronic stress is unhealthy for the body, particularly the heart. Although research is ongoing and not yet conclusive, cardiologists generally acknowledge that there is a link between chronic stress and adverse cardiovascular conditions, such as heart disease and heart attack. The relationship between the two factors may be both direct and indirect. That is, stress may itself increase the risk of heart disease and it may also increase the probability of unhealthy lifestyle habits that contribute to heart disease.

Stressed woman

Rise In Blood Pressure
When you experience a stressful situation such as job loss or the end of a relationship, it’s likely that you’ll suffer from a temporary spike in your blood pressure. However, evidence is growing that shows chronic stress can lead to long-term high blood pressure. Emotional stress results in the release of hormones. When these hormones are released consistently over a long period of time, it’s possible that they contribute to damage of the arterial walls.

Increase In Cholesterol Levels
People respond to emotional stress in different ways. Some may experience severe panic attacks, while others handle difficult situations with ease. Research has shown that people who experience stronger emotional responses to stressful situations also experience an increase in cholesterol after completing stress tasks during scientific studies. Preliminary research appears to indicate that the correlation is maintained over the long run.

Likelihood of Unhealthy Lifestyles
In addition to the apparent direct  relationship between stress and heart disease , cardiologists note that chronic stress can make a person more likely to lead an unhealthy lifestyle. They may eat a poor diet, fail to exercise regularly, and engage in unhealthy habits such as smoking and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. All of these lifestyle habits elevate the overall risk of adverse cardiovascular conditions.

Cardiac Solutions  provides a team-oriented, personalized approach to cardiac care. Our board-certified cardiologists look forward to meeting you and discussing how we can help you achieve better wellness. You can call (623) 208-5305 to schedule a visit to one of our heart health clinics in Glendale, Avondale, Peoria, Phoenix, or Sun City West.

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