You've heard the saying, 'Stress kills,' right? But when you're in the thick of things, it's hard to separate stressing from living.
That's because stress is a normal part of life in today's 'rat race'...
Stress can be brought on from physical causes, like lack of sleep or an illness. Emotional stress - or worrying - is another source. And then there's the everyday pressures, like being caught in traffic on the way to a meeting, being on the go non-stop, 'putting out fires' all the time and feeling like you're not in control.
Study proves that stress damages arteries and causes inflammation...
In a study at Massachusetts General Hospital, researchers recruited 293 patients for the study, which entailed CT and PET scans of the brain, artery inflammation as well as spleen and bone marrow activity. On average, the group was surveyed for 3.7 years.
During this time period, 8% of the patients experienced cardiovascular events, which ranged from narrowing of the arteries and stroke, to heart attack and heart failure.
A sub-study tested 13 patient with a history of PTSD (post-traumatic stress
“Those who reported the highest levels of stress
had the highest levels of amygdala activity along with more signs of inflammation in their blood and the walls of their arteries.”
The amygdala is the part of your brain that’s involved in processing stress
On top of this, people who are highly stressed, often turn to smoking or drinking which compounds the problem.
But there are things that you can do to minimise the effects of stress...
The brain releases the hormone, cortisol, in response to stress. Several studies have shown that high levels of cortisol in the blood, from long-term stress, can increase cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure
These are common risk factors for heart disease
. Stress can also cause the buildup of plaque deposits in the arteries.
But it's not only life-changing events that do this. Even minor stress can trigger heart problems, including poor blood flow to the heart muscle. This is a condition in which the heart doesn't get enough blood and oxygen.
And, long-term stress can also affect how the blood clots. This blood becomes stickier which increases the risk of stroke.
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According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the average South African has a heart age eight years older than the real age...
Are you walking around with a heart that's ageing faster than your body?
If your heart is older than your chronological age, you could be at risk of a heart attack or stroke.
But fear not, your heart isn’t doomed to early retirement. Because this one nutrient your body doesn’t produce could help turn back the clock of your ageing
It’s a simple, yet long exploited, secret the Japanese have been using for thousands of year. Find out more here...
How to minimise the effects of stress on the body...
Of course there's no one magic bullet that can resolve the effects of chronic stress but there are a few things you can do that will help - and it's important that you do something... If you ignore it, it will eventually catch up to you and you won't have the strength to overcome it.
1. Exercise daily:
This is so important to help you cope with stress and to keep your heart and lungs healthy.
2. Build a support system:
Reconnect with friends and family and allow yourself to lean on others when you need help.
3. Treat anxiety:
How you perceive situations will tell your brain that they're stressful or not. If you stress about the little things, you definitely need help to tame your anxiety
4. Help your body cope:
Your body will try to cope with whatever you throw at it but it's not realistic to expect it to do this over a long period of time. Give your body the nutrients it needs to be able to cope with today's rat race.
The first step is to recognise that your stress levels are higher than they should be and to work on the points above to help your body cope. By doing this, you will minimise the effects of stress on your heart and the rest of your body.