"I just about had a heart attack!" Ever said that when you were under a lot of stress?
Chances are, you didn't really think you were having a heart attack. But the fact of the matter is, stress that is severe and frequent or chronic can play a role in the condition of your heart.
Here are 10 ways your heart health might be affected by the stressors in your life.
1. Chronic daily stress
Friction between husband and wife, or being stuck in traffic, are just a couple of the daily kinds of frustrations that can cause chronic stress. Stress may lead to inflammation which is linked with heart disease, though it's uncertain as to whether or not it can be a direct cause of heart disease.
It is clear though that stress can stir up responses like smoking, drinking or overeating that can damage arteries. If these habits happen regularly enough the end of the road can be heart disease.
Fear, stress and over-exertion can release hormones that cause rupture of bacterial biofilms on the walls of blood vessels. Plaque is released into the bloodstream. A heart attack can be the result.
Stressful situations cause hormones to spike. Your blood pressure goes up, your heart beats faster and your blood vessels become more narrow. When this happens as a way of life, these effects may take a toll on heart health. And the habits you may turn to for comfort can increase the risk.
2. Severe, sudden stress
Severe, sudden stress can affect your heart. For example, people who've received traumatic news—like the death of a child or spouse—have, in rare cases, suffered an immediate heart attack. While this does not happen often, when it occurs it is called “broken heart syndrome.”
Women have suffered from this more frequently than men. It can even happen to people who have no history of heart disease.
3. Chronic anger
Everybody gets mad at times, but living with too much anger for too long, or not being able to resolve your anger, can be bad for your heart.
When anger is over the top, remarkable physiological effects can occur.