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The Effects of Stress on the Heart

Article Highlights
  • The relationship between stress and heart disease risk factors
  • Behaviors that can affect or increase stress
  • Tips on how to manage stress

When considering the risks factors, it’s easy to focus purely on physical health aspects such as a lack of a healthy diet, lack of exercise and engaging in unhealthy habits, such as smoking. In doing so, what often gets overlooked is the effects of mental stress on the body and how stress can cause a higher susceptibility. As it turns out, excessive stress can play a dangerous role in if it goes unnoticed and untreated.

According to the American Heart Association, more research needs to be done to reach conclusions on the direct link between stress and. However, it also states that there can be indirect effects of stress on the heart which can lead to an increase in critical risk factors for heart disease. There are immediate consequences of stress in our personal lives; for some, a lack of physical activity and stress-eating habits may set in. Unfortunately, others still turn to the dangerous behaviors of excessive alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking in order to try and cope with their stress. Engaging in such behaviors has been shown to be critical risk factors for heart disease.

Measures that can be taken to avoid or manage stress are often also heart healthy activities. For example, one can blow off steam by exercising, which is one of the most important activities in a heart healthy lifestyle, as it can lead to weight loss and the reduction of blood pressure and cholesterol. To find more information on heart health, explore the Heart Health Center from MegaRed. 


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