cardiovascular disease

How does Stress Increase the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases?

Stress is our body’s natural reaction to an unfavourable and threatening situation. In such cases, stress prompts us to either deal with the situation or remove ourselves from it. So in a way, a certain amount of stress is good since it helps us in protecting ourselves.

What happens in our body when we are under stress?

When faced with an alarming circumstance, the brain signals the adrenal glands to produce two stress hormones known as adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline tightens the blood vessels and makes the heart pump faster so that we can make a quick response. Cortisol, on the other hand, gathers additional energy for making the response by stopping other metabolic processes in the body like digestion. Once the threat is removed, the production of stress hormones comes to a stop, bringing down the heart rate and resuming the normal body functions.

How does Stress cause cardiovascular disease?

The instances mentioned above are in most cases, acute stress – a short-term stress that is helpful in keeping us focused and sharp. But when we subject ourselves to constant stress (chronic stress), it becomes hazardous to our health.
Chronic stress elevates the production of stress hormones, causing our heart to work faster which increases blood pressure. This process eventually leads to blood clots, heart attack and other heart diseases. The risk is even higher when people react to stressful events through anxiety, anger, depression and other negative emotions.

Stress Management Tips

Statistics show that there is a shocking increase in the number of patients seeking treatment for cardiovascular disease. And studies show that most of the patients are men, who are engaged in the IT sectors and MNC’s. Several hospitals and heart centres offer effective treatments for heart diseases. But instead of going through this painful process you can prevent it by taking measures for managing stress.

  • Identify the stressor and devise a strategy to deal with it – Stressors differ for each person; identify your stressor and find out ways to cope with it. It also helps to take a break from the stressor and spend time in a positive environment.
  • Be on the move – Exercising and involving yourself in physical activities can instantly relieve you from stress. Exercising stimulates the brain to release a hormone called Serotonin which helps to refresh and empower the mind.
  • Meditation – Silencing your mind helps a great deal in stress management. However, this technique requires a lot of practice. Don’t be deterred if you cannot concentrate while meditating. Find a silent place and keep observing the thoughts without getting influenced by it. And meditating every day will help you focus better.
  • Counselling – Counselling is an excellent option because you can share your feelings with a professional. Depending upon your stressors and degree of stress, these experts can suggest the best therapies for you.
  • Don’t resort to unhealthy ways – Binge eating, substance abuse, electronic gadgets, etc., may seem very tempting but these offer only temporary relief.

Stress management is a necessity in modern times. Taking good care of your physical and mental health will help you immensely in coping with stress and lessening the risk of cardiovascular diseases.