How to reduce stress and the risk of heart disease
In modern fast-paced lifestyles, there are many things that can cause us to be stressed. Whether it’s work, events on the news, technology or the new challenges of COVID-19, stress can easily find its way into our lives. But did you know that stress can be one of the leading contributing factors to cardiovascular diseases?
How does stress lead to heart disease?
Stress is an unusual contributing factor to heart disease and other illnesses in that it is not considered to be a direct cause. Instead, it is a major cause of other factors that directly lead to heart disease. These factors include:
High blood pressure and heart rate – being stressed can raise the heart rate for unusually long periods of time, even while resting. This can increase blood pressure and, over time, put extra stress on the heart.
Smoking – smokers who are regularly stressed are more likely to want to smoke tobacco products and can lead to smoking more often. Smoking is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases worldwide and the leading preventable cause of death.
Poor diet – being stressed makes people more likely to make poor diet decisions. Stress often leads to comfort eating of high-fat, high-sugar, or high-salt foods. Regularly doing so puts you at risk of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure or
- Atrial fibrillation – high stress has also been strongly linked to developing atrial fibrillation, a condition where the heart beats irregularly. To find out more about stress and atrial fibrillation, read our article all about it on our website
What can I do to reduce my stress?
Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It’s a natural reaction to challenging circumstances, but there are ways that we can help lower our stress levels in our daily lives.
The next time you are feeling stressed, try to ask yourself why. Identifying the problem can help you to avoid a stressful trigger, plan aheadto cope better, or put the problem into perspective to help lower your stress levels.
Stress can’t always be avoided. But if you are feeling stressed, try exercising. Going for a walk, run or any form of exercise will release endorphins that combat stress.
You should also aim to eat as healthily as possible. Avoiding high-fat and high-sugar foods will not only lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases but help you to break stressful cycles and improve your mood.
Talking to a friend or family member is an excellent form of stress relief. You can talk to our trained Alphega pharmacists too, who can offer the best advice to help you reduce your stress and help you feel better.
Try being mindful, taking some time for meditation, or trying yoga. A combination of exercise and meditation is a fantastic way to lower your stress and help you feel better.
For more information and advice on reducing stress and lowering your risks of cardiovascular diseases, talk to your local Alphega pharmacist.