Do your heart a favor and de-stress

One of the biggest dangers for your heart is something you may not think about—stress. Stress puts your heart at significant risk but raising your chances of many health conditions that impact your cardiac health. Although stress is a major risk factor for heart disease, it is also one of the most controllable ones. There are many things you can do to control your stress levels, which in turn will reduce your risk of heart disease.

Stress and your heart
When you are under stress, your body releases a hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline makes your body ready to deal with an immediate, stressful situation in a number of ways—including increasing your heart rate.

Short bursts of adrenaline can be helpful in some situations, when you have an immediate stressor to handle. The problem comes in when stress occurs of an extended period of time. This kind of chronic stress floods your body with adrenaline for long periods, which means that your heart rate is also increased for a long period of time. This can weaken your heart muscle and also contribute to high blood pressure—another risk factor for heart disease.

Stress and lifestyle choices
Another way stress can impact your heart is in the way it influences your lifestyle choices. When people face stress, they are more likely to engage in behaviors that can put their heart health at risk, such as smoking, drinking excessively, failing to get an adequate amount of sleep, and making poor food choices.

While coping with stress, people any also neglect their chronic health conditions. For instance, a person with diabetes may fail to manage their blood sugar adequately. This can also increase the risk of heart health problems.

Stress coping techniques
To prevent stress-related heart health problems, learning how to cope with stress is essential. Some simple stress management strategies include:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Calling a friend
  • Listening to music

If you are having difficulty managing your stress, talk to your physician. There are many medications that can be useful in reducing stress.

At Riverside Community Hospital, your heart health is our mission. We offer comprehensive cardiac care, from our emergency room to our outpatient providers. Get more information about our heart health services in Riverside by calling (951) 788-3463.

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