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Stress and Your Heart

Stress and Your Heart

November 29, 2022 Posted in: Heart & Vascular Care  2 minute read time


Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives, whether it’s from a major life event like the loss of a loved one or anything smaller and short-term like an approaching deadline. In the long term, however, stress can have serious consequences for your heart.

“Stress is a common, silent killer that can lead to heart disease if not treated,” said Steve S. Lin, MD, interventional cardiologist and director of cardiovascular services at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Cardiology. “It can negatively impact the heart in a variety of ways, including increased plaque buildup and elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.”

Stress may also lead to behavioral changes.

“Unhealthy habits, such as nicotine, alcohol, inactivity, poor diet, weight gain, insomnia — all kinds of things can lead to worsening of existing risk factors,” Dr. Lin said.

Decrease Stress to Increase Heart Health

To keep stress at bay, find healthy ways to manage it. Try:

  • Eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables 
  • Exercising at least 150 minutes per week with activities that get your heart pumping 
  • Finding laughter throughout your day 
  • Limiting alcohol intake 
  • Meditating and practicing mindfulness
  • Not smoking
  • Sleeping at least 7–9 hours per night
  • Socializing with friends and family

If you feel like stress is impacting your heart, find a cardiologist using our Find a Provider tool.

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