The stress of a new job or a public speaking engagement can make your palms sweaty, your heart race and your stomach clench. The mind and body are inextricably linked and, unfortunately, mental stress can lead to real health problems. When stress levels stay high day after day, your heart health may suffer the consequences. The research is ongoing as to whether chronic stress directly causes heart disease. But what is clear is that stress can indirectly raise the risk of heart disease. Here at Riverside Community Hospital, our heart health providers empower patients to make smart decisions for their healthcare.
Stress can affect your eating habits
Nutrition has a significant effect on your heart health. Your heart and blood vessels need a well-balanced diet that is:
- High in fiber
- Low in saturated fat
- Rich in healthy fats
- Low in sodium
- Low in sugar
If you choose healthy foods like whole grains, lean meats, vegetables and fruits regularly, you’re already taking important steps to protect your heart. But when you’re having trouble coping with stress, you might be more likely to stray from these healthy food choices. Stress can cause some people to overeat or skip meals, choose sugary junk foods and get takeout meals.
Stress can affect your motivation to exercise
When you exercise your muscles, you’re also exercising your heart muscle. Exercising regularly benefits your heart and blood vessels in the following ways:
- Keeps your arteries flexible
- Regulates your blood pressure
- Regulates your cholesterol levels
- Stabilizes your blood sugar
- Maintains a healthy weight
Unfortunately, stress can make a person lose the motivation to exercise, particularly if that stress is linked to not having enough time. If you can manage to get yourself to exercise despite your stress, you’ll almost certainly find that working out helps you manage your stress better.
Stress may prompt you to drink or smoke
Another way stress can indirectly affect your heart health is by setting the stage for alcohol consumption and tobacco use. Of course, not everyone who experiences stress will have a few drinks or smoke cigarettes. But those who do risk worsening heart health.
At HeartCare Institute at Riverside Community Hospital, our heart health specialists are committed to helping you live life well to prevent or manage heart disease. In the Riverside region, our heart hospital is recognized for unsurpassed patient care and life-saving procedures. Please direct medical emergencies to a 911 dispatcher, but for non-emergency questions, you can speak with a nurse at (951) 788-3463.
Emergency Room doctors can diagnose and treat a wide range of medical problems—from respiratory infections to heart attacks. But in some cases, patients are taken to the Trauma Center instead to receive specialized medical care. Traumatic injuries are different from other medical emergencies because they involve significant shock or damage to the body as a result of physical force. At Riverside Community Hospital, our Level II Trauma Center is fully staffed 24/7 with specialists dedicated to saving lives.
Types of traumatic injuries
In addition to the physical trauma to the body, these injuries may be complicated by psychiatric, social and behavioral factors. Watch this featured video to hear a trauma nurse at Riverside Community Hospital explain the nature of traumatic injuries. Some examples of traumatic injuries include the following:
- Internal damage
- Head injuries
- Traumatic amputations
- Spine fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crush injuries
- Collapsed lung
- Puncture wounds
- Gunshot wounds
Patients who are taken to the Trauma Center have acute injuries that are severe enough to require immediate medical attention. This may include emergency resuscitation to preserve life.
Causes and risk factors of traumatic injuries
Many trauma patients are involved in serious accidents, including motor vehicle accidents, falls from elevated areas and animal attacks. Other causes include the following:
- Physical assault
- Natural disasters
- Sports collisions
- Plane crashes
- Electrical shock
Although accidents that result in traumatic injuries tend to occur very quickly, there are still ways of reducing your risk. Consider the following tips:
- Wear a seatbelt
- Avoid drinking and driving
- Avoid distracted driving
- Use power tools properly
- Wear sports safety equipment
- Avoid aggressive animals
- Install smoke alarms
Treatment for traumatic injuries
Trauma surgeons, doctors and nurses must be ready to respond to all sorts of serious injuries at a moment’s notice. They rapidly assess the patient and administer life-saving interventions, such as resuscitation. The immediate focus is on stabilizing the patient, which may require the following steps:
- Mechanical ventilation for breathing
- IV fluids
- Blood transfusions
- Unblocking the airway
- Bracing or splinting
It may be necessary to perform surgery right away or after the patient has been stabilized. Some traumatic injuries require extensive recovery and rehabilitation services.
From resuscitation to rehabilitation, our commitment to superior patient care is evident in all that we do. The Trauma Team at Riverside Community Hospital understands the complex needs of our patients and their families, and continually strives for healthcare excellence that exceeds national standards. Call 911 now for emergency care or call a registered nurse at (951) 788-3463 for general questions about our medical specialties.