admin - July 7, 2013
You’ve heard of the term heartbreak, right? Whether you’ve ever experienced it or not, we know that heartbreak can lead to increased stress levels. We also know, however, that the reverse is true – rising levels of stress can gradually damage your heart.
When you’re feeling overly stressed, you may notice you have anxiety, restlessness, irritability, depression, headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, sleep problems, and many more symptoms. These are all common effects of stress on the physical, mental and emotional body. And even though you may not notice it as you’re experiencing these symptoms, your heart may be taking most of the burden.
The following are six ways that stress can gradually “break” your heart:
Studies have shown that high levels of stress lower your body’s ability to regulate inflammation. Higher inflammation levels promote the development of health conditions like cardiovascular disease because your body’s defense system is weakened. In a sense, stress causes your immune system to dwindle and your body to become more susceptible to health problems.
Rather than turning to exercise to reduce stress, many people are so mentally and emotionally drained that they’re more likely to sprawl out on the couch than start up the treadmill. Stress is often accompanied by a reduction in physical activity, which is a dangerous choice for your heart. To keep your heart strong, you need to maintain some level of physical activity every day.
3. Poor Diet
When you’re feeling stressed, suddenly that giant fudge brownie sounds even better than it did before, right? Stress may lead to more cravings of high calorie, salty, sweet or high-fat foods. After all, good-tasting foods are bound to ease the stress for a little while, right? While that may seem to be the case, a poor diet can hurt your heart – especially if unhealthy diet changes turn into habit.
4. Blood Pressure Spikes
When you’re stressed out, your body releases a surge of stress hormones. These hormones have been seen to temporarily raise blood pressure, causing your heart to beat faster and narrow your blood vessels. Plus, other activities linked to stress, like unhealthy eating and lack of exercise, can contribute to raising blood pressure levels.
5. Alcohol Consumption
The effects of a glass or two of alcohol can be relaxing, so it’s easy to turn to drinking when you’re stressed to the max. Too much alcohol, however, can raise your triglyceride levels in the blood and lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, increased calorie intake and obesity – all enemies of heart health.
6. Sleep Deprivation
Lack of quality sleep often goes hand-in-hand with stress. However, not getting good shut-eye can hurt your heart. Studies have shown that people who are unable to complete normal sleep cycles are at an increased risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Stress can have a direct impact on your heart health. While the feeling of stress may not be the same as heartbreak, the symptoms are similar and they can hurt your heart over time. Don’t let stress break your heart. Relax and take proactive steps to keep your heart strong.
Find ways to de-stress, and see how preventive health screenings from Life Line Screening can provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.