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Can Stress Cause a Heart Attack?

Constant stress is not good for the body, and your body can start showing negative symptoms if you take a lot of stress! Call us for more information!

Can Stress Cause a Heart Attack?

Whenever we experience stress, our body’s natural response is to go into flight or fight mode. While some stressful experiences do warrant such a strong reaction, our body will often perceive danger or a threat where there is none. This stress response is your body trying to take care of you, but it can also wreak unnecessary havoc on your body when the circumstance triggering the response does not warrant the stress. Here at Sterling Heart Care, we take stress seriously, especially concerning its effect on your heart, which is why we have developed a stress management program so that a healthy mind can lead to a healthy heart.

What is the relation between stress and heart attacks?

Research is consistently showing a link between constant stress and a greater risk of experiencing a heart attack. While researchers still don’t fully understand this link, enough research has been done to be deemed legitimate. One such Harvard University study, published in The Lancet in 2017, shows that the amygdala, which is the part of your brain that deals with stressful emotions, sends a signal to your body’s bone marrow to produce extra white blood cells whenever you are stressed. The excess production of these white blood cells leads to inflammation in your arteries, which is well-known to significantly increase a person’s risk of a heart attack or stroke. While previous research only linked stress to heart attacks via the negative habits that a person develops while under stress, the research above suggests that the link is actually much more direct!

As mentioned, stress can also lead to the development of habits that harm your heart’s health, such as smoking, overeating, overworking, lack of sleep, or drinking too much alcohol.

How do you help manage stress at Sterling Heart Care?

At Sterling Heart Care, our innovative cardiac rehabilitation program’s third pillar focuses exclusively on managing stress and developing a healthy mindset. During this part of the program, clients will participate in four unique healthy mindset workshops, wherein our licensed counselors and health coaches will teach you and help you with the following:

  • Stress management
  • Setting and achieving health goals
  • Improving personal and professional relationships
  • Reframing negative attitudes and thoughts into positive ones
  • Overcoming self-destructive or addictive habits, such as smoking

What should I do when I am stressed?

Just as everyone deals with stress in different ways, people also respond to stress reduction techniques differently! As such, it is important that you find a way to reduce stress that works for you instead of trying to shoehorn a particular method into your lifestyle that actually leads to more stress. Whether you are the creative type, find peace in the great outdoors, or enjoy losing yourself in a project or working with your hands, here is a list of ways to help you let stress slip away:

  • Take a relaxing walk or go for a run or bike ride in nature
  • Listen to music or play a musical instrument
  • Read a book or spend some time writing
  • Go for coffee or a meal with a close friend
  • Relax in the bath with some candles and relaxing music
  • Meditate or practice yoga once a day
  • Spend some time in the garden, in the yard, or around the house
  • Go fishing or play your favorite sport
  • Create art by sketching, painting, or colouring
  • Look through some old photos or make a scrapbook
  • Do some sewing or make jewelry

Whatever brings you joy and peace in your life, try to focus on those things whenever stress starts to weigh down on you. If you stress hits you when you are busy and don’t have time to unwind with a favorite pastime, here are some other tips to help you manage your stress:

  • Close your eyes and count to ten
  • Go for a short walk or get some fresh air
  • Focus on and acknowledge how your body is feeling
  • Turn on some music that relaxes you
  • Try a brief meditation or prayer to reframe your perspective
  • Take deep breaths and release some tension before responding or reacting
  • If you can, let go of the situation until you are in a better frame of mind to deal with it
  • Speak to someone you trust about how you are feeling
  • Try to reframe negative thoughts into positive thoughts (when saying to yourself, “I can’t do this,” say instead, “I will do the best that I
  • can”)

If the amount of stress in your life is causing you concern for your heart health, do not hesitate to contact us at Sterling Heart Care! It is our passion to turn unhealthy hearts and into healthy ones. Call us at (716) 221-6097 or schedule an appointment through our website. You can find our clinic at 4330 Maple Rd in Buffalo, New York.