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Manage Stress for Your Heart

Why is it important to lower my stress level?

Stress is the way we all react to change. It includes our mental, emotional, and physical responses to the pressures of everyday life. Change is a natural and normal part of life, and therefore a moderate amount of stress is part of normal living.

But, stress can be bad for your heart. If you have heart disease, stress can lead to angina symptoms and maybe a heart attack.

Stress and the heart
What stress does Why it's bad for your heart

Can narrow your arteries

Could reduce blood flow through your coronary arteries, which could cause angina or a heart attack

Increases your blood pressure

Could increase the workload on your heart and rupture a plaque in your coronary artery, causing a heart attack

Increases your heart rate

Increases your heart's workload, and could cause a potentially dangerous irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)

How can I lower my stress level?

There are several steps you can take to help reduce your stress level. Doing so will have a positive impact on your health and your life.

Try different ways to reduce stress such as exercise, deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. For more tips on how to manage stress, see:

Stop Negative Thoughts: Choosing a Healthier Way of Thinking.

No single method of "stress-busting" works for everybody. You may need to experiment with several different methods to find one that works for you. You may need to combine a few methods to get the best results.

When you find one or more methods that work for you, your mission is not yet accomplished. You also will need to change the situation that is causing you stress, if you can, or perhaps change your reaction to that situation.

For more information, see Stress Management.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Current as of March 12, 2014

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