Today's News / Health

Reduce your stress to protect your heart

August 10, 2011
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
A growing body of evidence suggests that psychological factors are — literally — heartfelt, and can contribute to cardiac risk, according to the latest edition of HEALTHbeat, a newsletter from the Harvard Medical School.

 Stress from challenging situations and events plays a significant role in cardiovascular symptoms and outcome, particularly heart attack risk. Depression, anxiety, anger, hostility, and social isolation also affect cardiovascular health. Each of these factors heightens your chances of developing heart problems, according to HEALTHbeat. But emotional issues are often intertwined: people who have one commonly have another. 

 Many studies have documented that various forms of stress can take a toll on the heart: 

 Workplace stress.Women whose work is highly stressful have a 40% increased risk of heart disease (including heart attacks and the need for coronary artery surgery) compared with their less-stressed colleagues. These findings come from the Women’s Health Study (WHS), which included more than 17,000 female health professionals.

 Financial stress.Heart attacks rose as the stock market crashed, according to a 2010 report in The American Journal of Cardiology. Researchers at Duke University reviewed medical records for 11,590 people who had undergone testing for heart disease during a three-year period, and then compared monthly heart attack rates with stock market levels. Heart attacks increased steadily during one eight-month period — September 2008 to March 2009 — that was particularly bad for the stock market.

 Caregiver stress.Women who cared for a disabled spouse for at least nine hours a week were significantly more at risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease compared with women who had no caregiving duties, according to findings from the Nurses’ Health Study. This large study followed more than 54,000 female nurses over a four-year period.

 Stress-easing strategies

While you can’t change the world around you, the following lifestyle changes can help you minimize your stress level:

Get enough sleep.Lack of sound sleep can affect your mood, mental alertness, energy level, and physical health.

 Exercise.Physical activity alleviates stress and reduces your risk of becoming depressed — and it is good for your all-around health.

 Learn relaxation techniques.Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and yoga are mainstays of stress relief. Your local hospital or community center may offer meditation or yoga classes, or you can learn about these techniques from books or videos.

 Learn time-management skills.These skills can help you juggle work and family demands.

 Confront stressful situations head-on.Don’t let stressful situations fester. Hold family problem-solving sessions and use negotiation skills at work.

 Nurture yourself.Treat yourself to a massage. Truly savor an experience: eat slowly, focusing on each bite of that orange, or soak up the warm rays of the sun or the scent of blooming flowers during a walk outdoors. Take a nap. Enjoy the sounds of music you find calming.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASSE Safety 2014 Review

A gallery of photos from the sprawling Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 8-11. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

9/9/14 2:00 pm EDT

Welding: It doesn't have to be a grind. The latest in respiratory protection and PPE for welders and grinder

Attendees of this webinar will gain knowledge of hazards and appropriate PPE for welding applications, regulatory drivers that are changing the landscape of PPE within welding applications and the latest product technologies being offered in welding PPE.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN_0814cov.jpg

2014 August

Check out ISHN's August issue which features content about pain prevention, forklift operation safety and a preview of the National Safety Congress and Expo.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - May 2014

ISHN0514FDO_cover.jpgFor Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THEMAY 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.