Stress is a normal human reaction, and while the human body is designed to experience and respond to stress, it is a known factor for poor cardiac health. High and prolonged levels of stress can lead to behaviors linked to increased risk of high blood pressure and hypertension, such as:
- unhealthy diet or overeating
- overuse of alcohol
- lack of physical activity
- reduced sleep
- not taking medications as prescribed
Stress Awareness Month is a great time to think about ways to reduce your stress, whether you have other risk factors or suffered a cardiac event. Even if you’re in good health, your heart is worth working toward better stress management and response strategies.
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Exercise on most days, even if you only have 20 minutes, helps!
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, even on weekends.
- Focus on deep breathing and ways to help you relax.
- Work to make your daily schedule more manageable.
Your health care provider can identify if your stress contributes to health problems and work with you to create a treatment help to reduce stress and improve your overall quality of life.