Scientists are zeroing in on a surprising risk factor for cardiovascular disease as the connection between stress and heart disease comes into focus.

The Difference Between Chronic and Acute Stress

In order to understand the impact that stress has on your overall health, it is first important to distinguish between the different types of stress. In general, your body feels stress as it responds to an adverse physical or psychological situation. There are two types of negative stress designations: acute stress and chronic stress.

Stress: A Surprising Risk Factor for Heart Disease 1Acute stress can be traced back to a specific cause. Examples of acute stress include having to give a public speech, a driving mishap or worrying about a doctor appointment. With acute stress, your body is typically able to easily return to its normal state after dealing with the stressful event, minimizing the long-term damage to your physical and mental health.

Conversely, chronic stress is a type of stress that keeps you at a constant heightened state of anxiety. An example of this type of stress would be worries over money, a chronic illness or family issues. Unlike acute stress that remedies itself when the situation has passed, chronic stress hangs on long enough that your body is not able to recover from the trigger. People who suffer from chronic stress often experience a poor immune system, digestive issues and elevated breathing and heart rates.

The Connection Between Stress and Heart Disease

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five fatalities in the U.S. in 2020 was attributed to heart disease. This makes heart disease the leading cause of death in the United States. Likewise, heart disease is also the leading killer on a global scale. While it has been widely known and accepted that being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle and being a smoker or heavy drinker increases an individual's risk of developing heart disease, it is now being revealed that the amount of stress in your life may also increase this risk.

The Framingham project is distinguished as one of the world's most comprehensive epidemiological population studies, examining over 14,000 subjects spanning three generations. What the researchers involved in this project have learned is that individuals who identify as Type A personalities may be more likely to suffer with heart disease as they age.

For instance, it was revealed that men between the ages of 45 and 64 years old that exhibit Type A behavior were at a twofold risk of developing chest pain, myocardial infarction and heart disease when compared to those who identify as Type B. The results were similar when looking at women and how their personality type correlates with the risk of developing heart disease.

Scientists believe that the activity in the brain associated with stress triggers a higher risk of inflammation in the body. This inflammation negatively affects the body's arteries, leading to a greater threat of cardiovascular disease. In addition, chronic stress can also raise the odds of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, two primary risk factors for health issues related to the heart.

How to Protect Your Body Against Stress Dangers

Now that you have learned more about the dangers of chronic stress in your life, you may be wondering what you can do to guard against this potential health issue. Here are a few of the best ways that you can protect your body against stress.

Stay Active

There is strong science behind the idea that going for a run can help you to clear your head and beat back stress. Working up a sweat releases the feel-good endorphins that lower stress levels and make you feel calmer. As a bonus, regular exercise also naturally improves heart health through weight management.

Take the Right Supplements

The supplements that you nourish your body with can have a profound impact on how you deal with stress. A supplement such as Serochron works by supporting ideal levels of serotonin in the brain, helping you to cultivate a healthy mood and a more positive outlook on life. The unique formula found in Serochron has also been shown to fight back against burnout syndrome, helping to mitigate the harmful effects of high stress levels in the process.

Get Enough Zzzs

Stress: A Surprising Risk Factor for Heart DiseaseQuality sleep has a significant positive influence on both your physical and emotional health. Getting enough sleep will help the body be able to better handle stress. For example, being too tired makes it less likely that you will be able to think clearly and deal with stress. You should make it a goal to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night for optimal stress management.

Learn Relaxation Techniques

Practicing relaxation techniques is a great way to combat stress as it helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Good techniques include meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises and massage.

It is important to remember that the occasional stressful situation is not going to cause long-term damage to your cardiovascular health. However, chronic stress can have a significant impact on your overall health and wellness. Taking the steps now to control the stress in your life will benefit your health both in the short-term and the long-term.

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