The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that around 647,000 people living in the United States die from heart disease each year, making it the leading cause of death among Americans.

Stress is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is why our team at AFC Urgent Care North Carolina wants to share some insight into what stress does to your heart and how you can manage it effectively.

How Can Stress Affect Your Heart Health?

A small amount of stress is completely normal and to be expected. But when that small amount of stress becomes a large amount of stress or you’re experiencing it chronically, it can negatively impact both your physical and mental health.

When it comes to your heart specifically, too much stress can expose your body to too much stress hormone, raising your blood pressure and diminishing your body’s ability to clot blood.

How Stress Impacts the Body

  • Causes mood changes
  • Lowers self-esteem
  • Diminishes energy
  • Causes GI symptoms, including diarrhea or constipation
  • Contributes to insomnia and other sleep issues
  • Lowers your immune system’s effectiveness

How Does Stress Affect Our Choices?

Beyond those physical effects we outlined above, stress also impacts your heart health in another way. Feeling stressed makes you much more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors.

Think about the last time you were stressed. Weren’t you much more likely to skip your workout or to choose something unhealthy to eat? You may even have turned to smoking or alcohol consumption to help you through—all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Ways to Manage Stress

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept the things you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive.
  • Try meditation or yoga for stress management.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

Our mission at AFC Urgent Care North Carolina is to provide affordable, high-quality health care to those across the state of North Carolina!