Dr. Zachary Solomon on The Correlation Between Stress and Heart Health

Dr. Zachary Solomon

As a cardiac surgeon, Dr. Zachary Solomon is often asked about the correlation between one’s stress levels and one’s heart health. The easiest way to understand why excessive stress is bad for one’s heart is to look at the hormones stress releases into the body. Stress will bring adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine into the bloodstream. While these hormones won’t necessarily have a negative impact on heart health when they are experienced sparingly, people who experience chronic stress will have these hormones triggering a need for increased oxygen levels in the body, spasms in the heart’s blood vessels and even interruptions of the electrical impulses of the heart.

Dr. Zachary Solomon notes that people who deal with chronic stress will usually have issues with high blood pressure, blood vessel damage, inflammation, and rapid heart rate. It’s also important to note that increased stress levels in the body commonly cause a person to make poor dietary choices. Whether one is overeating to compensate for their stress or skipping meals altogether, poor nutrition is detrimental to one’s heart health.

As a cardiac surgeon, Dr. Zachary Solomon is always concerned about inflammation. Maintaining high-stress levels can lead to inflammation in the arteries. Stress hormones can lead to blood sugar levels increasing, which will trigger an inflammatory response within the blood vessel walls. This allows plaque to build in the heart, which can restrict the heart’s ability to send blood to one’s vital organs. Blockages of any sort can lead to life-threatening scenarios like heart attack or stroke.

While it is nearly impossible for people to avoid stress in their lives, how people respond to stress will go a long way in determining how healthy their hearts will be. As Dr. Zachary Solomon noted earlier many people choose to respond to stress by turning to junk food, smoking, or even alcohol abuse. While these may provide temporary moments of relief, they are only compounding the heart health issues one is likely to experience.

Anyone experiencing chronic stress must take action to reduce their stress levels. Dr. Zachary Solomon notes that increasing one’s physical activity is a great way to lower stress levels and strengthen the heart all at once. Ideally, an exercise routine will allow a person to throw their cares away and focus on the task at hand. Improved nutrition and sleeping patterns have also been linked to lower stress levels.

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