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Chronic Stress and Your Heart

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Chronic Stress and Your Heart

By American Heart Association News

(Please note: This article was published more than three years ago, so some information may be outdated. If you have questions about your health, always contact a healthcare professional)

Sometimes stress can be useful. But constant stress can affect overall well-being and may even impact heart health. When stress is short-lived, it can help with performance in meeting a major deadline, interviewing for a new job, or achieving another goal. Stress and its impact on the body can also be lifesaving in the face of danger.


But long-term stress induced by work troubles, financial difficulties, or family discord is a different story. Irritability, anxiety, depression, rumination, insomnia, or waking up in the middle of the night with anguish can result from chronic stress.


Ongoing stress not only takes an emotional and psychological toll, but it can also produce physical symptoms. These may include headaches, an upset stomach, tense and aching muscles, insomnia, and low energy.


Heart disease is another potential stress-related problem.


Stress can lead to high blood pressure, which can pose a risk of heart attack and stroke. Stress also may contribute to cardiovascular disease risks such as smoking, overeating, and lack of physical activity.


Constant stress can impact creativity and productivity. For many people, the workplace is a source of stress.


About 2 in 3 employees say work is a significant source of stress, according to a recent report from the American Heart Association Center for Workplace Health Research & Evaluation. Job stress can stem from long hours, physical strain, high demand, or job insecurity.


Annual expenditures on work-related stress has been estimated at $190 billion, while the cost of poor mental health, including depression and anxiety, has been pegged at $211 billion annually. The estimates encompass lost productivity and work absenteeism.

To minimize continual stress, set priorities for what is most important to you and aim for a life-work balance. Make time for friends, family, and laughter. Ease stress and improve mood through physical activity. Regular exercise helps to lower blood pressure and combat other cardiovascular disease risk factors. Mindful meditation and deep breathing can help manage stress. Consider yoga, which combines movement, controlled breathing, and relaxation.


Sleep and stress are interconnected. Stress can affect sleep, and lack of sleep can, in turn, lead to more stress. Seven to eight hours of sleep per night is ideal, Schiffrin said. Better sleep hygiene is critical in managing stress and promoting heart health.


Attempting to see a "silver lining" and adopting a positive attitude toward life may help reduce stress.


The Campbell County Health Cardiology team is here to care for patients who have experienced a heart issue and to help plan the necessary steps to avoid a heart issue.

If you find yourself feeling chronically stressed, talk to your healthcare provider. To learn more about Cardiology Services, visit our website or call 307-688-6000.
  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Cardiology, Campbell County Medical Group Family Medicine, Campbell County Medical Group Wright Clinic & Occupational Health, CCH News, CCMG News, CCMH News, Health Matters, Health News