Back to home July 2012
Stress Hits a "Double Whammy" to the Heart
Anxious thoughts, constant worrying, rapid heartbeat, aches and pains, moodiness, sleeping too much or too little, memory problems, feeling isolated or overwhelmed—these are some of the signs and symptoms of stress. An increasingly common part of our busy lives, stress wreaks havoc on our bodies.
“Stress hits a ‘double whammy’ to the heart,” says cardiologist, Ashwini Sahni, M.D. “In general, stress increases the release of ‘fight or flight’ hormones that cause high blood pressure and can even elevate blood sugars. Stress also increases the demand on the heart for oxygen because of the increased pulse rate.”
Dr. Sahni adds that the plaque that builds in arteries can be stable or unstable, and stress affects that, too. “A sudden, stressful event that leads to higher blood pressure and increased pulse can cause stable plaque to become unstable,” he says. “The plaque can rupture, causing a myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack.”
Stress also can lead some people to eat more or more often. “Stress eaters have to keep an eye on their weight and cholesterol,” Dr. Sahni says. “That behavioral symptom of stress—overeating—certainly affects the heart.”
Exercising and eating a balanced, healthy diet can help keep your heart healthy and stress in check. “Yoga and meditation are very useful because relaxing the mind and focusing on the breath helps ease stress,” Dr. Sahni says. “Maintaining harmony and balance in relationships and life, and improving the world around us also helps us feel better about ourselves.” It is important to realize the impact of stress on your body and work diligently to manage, control and reduce the stress in your life.
“Stress hits a ‘double whammy’ to the heart,” says cardiologist, Ashwini Sahni, M.D.
A Heart Healthy Diet
Ashwini Sahni, M.D.
Lee Physician Group
1682 NE Pine Island Road
Cape Coral, FL 33909