Stress and its Effect on Heart

A man under stress

Everyone experiences stress to some degree, but how severe and how often it occurs can take a toll on your physical wellbeing. Stomach aches, headaches, and muscle tension are common responses to it. 

However, our experienced cardiologists at CVCFL want you to be aware of how stress can also impact your heart. High blood pressure is one potential complication of chronic stress. Luckily, there are some things you can do to protect your heart from its harmful effects.

Understanding Stress

While some stress is normal, too much of it can have negative effects on your health. Stress is your body’s reaction to a demand or some event in life. It can be acute (short-term), such as a deadline at work or a bee flying by your face. It can also be chronic, which means your body is still reacting to a stressors even after it’s gone.

In short bursts, stress can be a good thing. It can help motivate you to complete a project by a tight deadline, or it can help you avoid dangerous situations. However, chronic stress is the type that takes a toll on your body.

Chronic stress can have a serious impact on your health. Common symptoms include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, digestive problems, headaches, decreased libido, and neck pain. It can also disrupt your sleep and cause weight gain or loss. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cope with this situation, but this just creates additional problems.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that prolonged periods of stress can contribute to various health problems, such as menstrual problems, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, anxiety, depression, and eczema.

Relationship Between Heart and Stress

Stress has been linked to a variety of health conditions, including heart disease. When you’re under stress, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, which can lead to a variety of physical symptoms, including an increased heart rate. Over time, this can put a strain on your heart and potentially lead to heart disease.

Stress increases the risk that you participate in activities that increase the risk of heart disease. For example, some people who feel overwhelmed may turn to nervous eating or overeating. Others may turn to alcohol or smoking to help themselves relax. Others may feel too exhausted to stay consistent with their exercise routines. All of these activities — nervous eating, smoking, drinking alcohol, inactivity — increase your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

Stress and high blood pressure

When you experience stress, your body releases adrenaline. This hormone helps you to be powerful and alert in potentially dangerous situations. Part of your body’s natural response to adrenaline is increased blood pressure. This is normally not a problem, but if you are constantly stressed, it can become an issue. High blood pressure can put you at risk for heart attacks, heart failure, and angina.

How to reduce it?

There are many benefits to reducing stress in your life, including improved mental and physical well-being. Luckily, there are many ways to reduce it, including:

Exercising regularly

Practicing deep breathing


Prioritizing quality sleep each night

Practicing time management

Avoiding overscheduling

Saying no when necessary

Practicing self-care


Unfortunately, stress isn’t the only cause of high blood pressure. Your diet, lifestyle, and genetics are all risk factors for hypertension. If you’re struggling to regulate your high blood pressure, we can help you learn the lifestyle changes you need to see a difference. We can also prescribe high blood pressure medication if the need is felt to do so.

If you have concerns regarding your heart health, schedule a consultation with one of our expert cardiologists. Cardiac and Vascular Consultants in Florida can guide you more efficiently towards the path to better health.


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