Stress puts your health at risk. There’s no getting around it.

Studies have linked stress to changes in the way blood forms clots, which makes a heart attack more likely. Research has found that men who reported high levels of stress were twice as likely to die of a stroke compared to those who reported low stress levels.

How?

Stress raises your blood pressure levels. In 2011/12, 4.6 million Australians (32%) aged 18 years and over had high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a key risk factor for heart disease and it’s a silent killer - you won’t know you have it unless you get it checked.

One of your body’s stress hormones, cortisol, rises in periods of stress which increases your blood pressure. Once a short period of stress is over, your hormone levels return to normal. However, if you experience periods of long-term stress, your body’s stress response system stays activated, keeping your blood pressure high.

Below is a visual to show exactly what happens to your arteries and explain how this increases your risk of poor heart health.

high blood pressure visual.jpg

So, how can you manage your stress?

When stressed, the body releases cortisol. Long-term exposure to cortisol can lead to excess weight gain around the stomach which then puts strain on the heart. Lower your risk of heart disease with these simple stress management tips:

  • Stay positive. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

  • Meditate. This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure.

  • Exercise. Anytime you are physically active, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away stress, it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure and strengthening your heart muscle.

What actions are you going to take to improve your heart health?

If your workforce could benefit from education and awareness around the impact of stress on heart health, contact us today to discuss what service options would best suit your workforce and budget.