It’s common for people to feel anxious, but is stress putting the hurt on your heart? Learn about the link between stress and your health.
Most people are familiar with traditional heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and high cholesterol. However, another factor that may go ignored is chronic stress, which particularly affects those with poor heart health.
In a November 2021 study in JAMA, researchers analyzed the effect of stress on 918 patients with stable heart disease. Results suggest that mental stress had a greater impact than physical stress, increasing the likelihood of nonfatal heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease. Physical stress refers to actions like lifting anything heavier than 30 pounds.
Stress and Heart Health
These new findings highlight the results from an earlier study that found a link between heart attacks and psychological stress. Moreover, the previous study (known as Interheart) shows that psychological stress is an independent risk factor for heart attacks. However, stress may also affect a healthy person’s heart, as some studies show that heart attack risk increases with high-level stress.
When it comes to how the body reacts to psychological stress, it all starts in the amygdala (the brain’s fear center). To illustrate, the amygdala reacts to stress by activating the fight-or-flight response, causing a multitude of reactions. In turn, these reactions lead to artery inflammation, blood vessel impairment, and blood clotting, which promotes atherosclerosis.
Furthermore, studies show that high activity in the amygdala can lead to higher levels of inflammation and atherosclerosis. In contrast, people who are less tightly wound are less likely to experience poor heart health as a result of stress.
Researchers are currently analyzing the effects of SMART-3RP, a stress-reducing program designed to help reduce stress and build resilience. The program uses mind-body techniques like yoga, tai chi, and mindfulness-based meditation, which activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
In addition to these techniques, you can help your body de-stress by regularly exercising, which also provides other health benefits. You should also make sure that you get a good night’s rest, as poor sleep leads to higher stress levels.
Furthermore, you can consult with your doctor about taking certain medications to help. For example, statins work to reduce cholesterol and counter arterial inflammation while antidepressants may help minimize amygdalar activity.
While it’s important to manage your blood pressure and cholesterol, you should also focus on your mental and emotional health. By helping to reduce your stress levels, you’ll not only feel more relaxed, but you’ll be improving your heart health.
In addition, you can give your heart health an extra boost by taking supplements like L-arginine Plus. Its ingredients are effective at promoting your circulation, blood pressure health, cholesterol health, and more.
Give your heart health the support it deserves by lowering your stress and taking L-arginine Plus.