Stress and Heart Disease: Is there a connection?


Stress is connected to but not a direct cause of heart disease. One of the ways that chronic stress impacts us is that it raises the level of cortisol in our bodies. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. High levels of cortisol can increase our risk for a multitude of health issues, including high blood pressure, a key risk factor for heart disease.

Under stress, some of us turn to unhealthy coping skills. These skills can include illegal drug use, emotional eating, using tobacco products, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, and becoming sedentary. These unhealthy lifestyle choices also raise the risk of heart disease.

How can you cope with stress? Learn new, healthy stress-management techniques to replace unhealthy coping skills. One excellent stress-management tool is relaxing and destressing by using your senses. Using the senses can help with creating a safe space in your mind.

In stressful circumstances, the only thing you can control is yourself. You cannot control others, change your past, or predict the future. It is up to you how you choose to relax and destress. Be proactive and modify how you choose to calm yourself. This change can help break the connection between stress and heart disease.

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