Stress is the way we all react to change. It
includes our mental, emotional, and physical responses to the pressures of
everyday life. Change is a natural and normal part of life, and therefore a
moderate amount of stress is part of normal living.
But, stress can be bad for your heart. If you have heart disease, stress can lead to angina symptoms and maybe a heart attack.
Can narrow your arteries
Could reduce blood flow through your coronary
arteries, which could cause angina or a heart attack
Increases your blood pressure
Could increase the workload on your heart and
rupture a plaque in your coronary artery, causing a heart attack
Increases your heart rate
Increases your heart's workload, and could cause a potentially dangerous irregular
There are several steps you can take to
help reduce your stress level. Doing so will have a positive impact on your
health and your life.
Try different ways to reduce stress such as exercise, deep breathing, meditation, or
yoga. For more tips on how to manage stress, see:
No single method of "stress-busting" works
for everybody. You may need to experiment with several different methods to
find one that works for you. You may need to combine a few methods to get the
When you find one or more methods that work for
you, your mission is not yet accomplished. You also will need to change the
situation that is causing you stress, if you can, or perhaps change your
reaction to that situation.
For more information, see Stress Management.
April 5, 2012
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
& Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
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