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Here's How Stress Can Increase Your Risk for Heart Disease

Constant stress can have severe consequences, especially on your heart health. Read this article for more information about stress and cardiovascular health.

  • 3,043 Views | Updated on: Dec 26, 2023

Stress is a common part of our day-to-day life. It can have emotional causes, like pressures and obligations of professional life or difficult relationships, or physical causes, such as an illness or insufficient sleep.

While stress is considered beneficial for immediate short-term situations as it prepares your body to respond to an event, constant stress can have severe consequences, especially on your heart health.

Here are 4 things that you should know about stress and cardiovascular health-

1. How Does Human Body Respond to Stress?

When you are under stress, the hypothalamus in your brain sends a signal to the adrenal glands for releasing cortisol and adrenaline hormones. Your heartbeat increases, and blood rushes to those parts of the body which the brain believes would help you cope with the emergency. So, in a way, your body is automatically prepared to respond to the situation.

Once the perceived emergency is over, the hypothalamus then signals all the organs to get back to normal. But if the stressor does not go away, this emergency response by the nervous system will continue.

2. How Does Stress Affects Heart Health?

Multiple studies have proved that a higher cortisol level, the primary stress hormone, due to long-term stress elevates triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. These are some of the most common causes of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, stress can also result in changes that increase plaque build-up in the arteries. Minor stress can also reduce blood flow to the heart, a condition where the heart muscles do not get adequate oxygen or blood. Elevated cortisol levels for longer durations can also make your blood stickier and increase the chances of a stroke.

Many people resort to habits like binge eating, smoking, or consuming excess alcohol to cope with stress, further increasing cardiovascular disease risk.

3. What are the Common Symptoms of Stress?

  • Mental Symptoms-
  • Forgetfulness, poor memory, lack of concentration, difficulty making decisions, constant worry

  • Physical Symptoms-
  • General aches and pains, dizziness, clenched jaws, teeth grinding, racing heart, difficulty sleeping, exhaustion, tiredness

  • Behavioural Symptoms-
  • Compulsive eating, impulsive actions, frequent job changes, increased use of alcohol or smoking

  • Emotional Symptoms-
  • Anxiety, anger, mood swings, irritability, depression, loneliness, nervousness

4. What Can Be Done About Stress?

There are many different ways in which you can better manage stress.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Make time for family and friends
  • Find a stimulating hobby
  • Try to maintain a positive attitude
  • Consider relaxing activities like meditation and yoga

Inculcating these positive habits can take time and might also require professional intervention. Do not mind consulting a professional if you have a constant feeling of anxiety or depression. Purchasing a critical care plan is also an excellent way to safeguard your finances if in case you are diagnosed with any cardiovascular disease

Make Heart Health Your Priority

With people as young as in their 30s suffering from cardiovascular conditions, it’d be wise to make heart health a priority. With stress being one of the major risk factors of life-threatening heart-related problems, taking measures to better manage it is a step in the right direction.

Even as you take all the preventive measures to manage stress, it is better to get financial protection against the unfortunate incidents like hospitalisation by purchasing a health insurance policy.

There are many health care plans in the market. Make sure that you carefully read the terms and purchase a policy that specifically covers mental health-related issues. You can buy a policy online from any insurance company’s website of your choice.

Buying a policy online is simple, and affordable as compared to offline purchases.

- A Consumer Education Initiative series by Kotak Life

Amit Raje
Written By :
Amit Raje

Amit Raje is an experienced marketer who has worked in various Fintechs and leading Financial companies in India. With focused experience in Digital, Amit has pioneered multiple digital commerce in India. Now, close to two decades later, he is the vice president and head of the D2C business department. He masters the skill of strategic management, also being certified in it from IIMA. He has challenged his challenges and contributed his efforts in this journey of digital transformation.

Amit Raje
Reviewed By :
Prasad Pimple

Prasad Pimple has a decade-long experience in the Life insurance sector and as EVP, Kotak Life heads Digital Business. He is responsible for developing user friendly product journeys, creating consumer awareness and helping consumers in identifying need for life insurance solutions. He has 20+ years of experience in creating and building business verticals across Insurance, Telecom and Banking sectors

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