Routine tends to overcharge people with excessive tasks or responsibilities. When they become too demanding, the body may manifest symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, sweating, or insomnia. These are some possible body reactions to stress, although they are not the only ones.
Cardiovascular health may also be affected, as suffering from stress implies subjecting the body to highly damaging tensions, which turns it into a higher risk factor.
Stressful situations may increase the heart rate and blood pressure and cause coronary vasoconstriction, among other cardiovascular disorders. In addition to these physiological alterations, stress and anxiety may also change a person’s habits to a less healthy lifestyle, including overeating or eating high-calorie foods, getting fewer hours of sleep, drinking more alcohol or coffee, and exercising less.
Recent studies indicate that chronic psychological stress may be as significant -or even more- to the health of your heart as traditional cardiac risk factors. In fact, for people with unhealthy hearts, mental stress outweighs physical stress as a possible precipitant of fatal and non-fatal heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.
It all begins in the brain’s fear center, the amygdala. This center reacts to stress by activating the so-called fight-or-flight response and triggering a hormone release. Over time, these hormones can increase body fat levels, blood pressure, and insulin resistance.
In addition, the cascade of stress reactions causes arterial inflammation, fosters blood clotting, and impairs blood vessel function. All of these promote atherosclerosis, the arterial disease that underlies most heart attacks and strokes.
You can fight stress and take care of your Heart
Some tools may help us avoid the stress-triggered consequences on our cardiovascular health. The following are some non-pharmacologic options:
Mind-body techniques help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the brain and body. Among these, we can find mindfulness-based meditation, yoga and tai chi, and calming techniques that slow breathing.
Exercising regularly, at least twice a week, helps release tensions, diminishes stress, and reduces stress-related body inflammation. Physical exercise also combats other cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol levels.
Healthy Eating Habits
A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fiber, and low in fats and sugars, will also help us keep stress at bay. Leaving stimulants such as coffee and alcohol out of our diet is a good idea, as they boost stress.
Getting a good night’s sleep and letting sleep do its restorative work is another way to keep stress away. For quality sleep, having a light dinner, avoiding caffeine or theine, and following a bedtime routine are highly advisable. Follow breathing techniques to help you relax, and avoid bedtime exposure to blue light screens, such as smartphones or computers. If you cannot help using them, try applying a blue light filter.
A consultation with professionals may prevent many risks and future complications. Supra offers coverage that will grant you access to the best doctors and institutions.
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