Anxiety is bad for both your overall and heart health. In fact, these studies show higher stress levels aren’t good for the heart.
According to a recent study available in Circulation, chronic stress may lead to a higher risk of heart disease. “Stress [and negative emotions] negatively impact our health and longevity,” says cardiologist Dr. Glenn Levine (not involved in the study).
Levine chaired the AHA’s scientific statement on the connection between mental well-being and heart disease. In developing this statement, Levine “looked at all the data we could find and we concluded that negative psychological health factors such as stress were clearly associated with many cardiovascular risk factors.”
However, Levine suggests that it’s possible to improve cardiovascular health by aiming for a positive psychological outlook. “You can decide to change your mindset about that stressful situation or set boundaries,” says stress management expert Dr. Cynthia Ackrill. It’s possible to do this by “just by being aware you can keep that stress from becoming toxic to you.”
The study involved 412 multiracial adults between ages 48 and 87, all with normal blood pressure levels. Researchers measured their urine levels of stress hormones several times between 2005 and 2018. Moreover, they compared these levels to any cardiovascular events that occurred like hypertension, heart attacks, and bypass surgery.
“Previous research focused on the relationship between stress hormone levels and hypertension or cardiovascular events in patients with existing hypertension,” says study author Dr. Kosuke Inoue. “However, studies looking at adults without hypertension were lacking.”
Researchers tested for three different hormones that regular the autonomic nervous system and control involuntary body functions like heart rate. The hormones they examined include norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine; they also looked at cortisol levels.
Their results show that doubling combined levels of all four stress hormones increases hypertension risk by 21% and 31%. Moreover, doubling cortisol levels alone increases the risk of a cardiovascular event by 90%. Finally, the effect was more evident in people that were under the age of 60, which researchers find worrisome.
“In this context, our findings generate a hypothesis that stress hormones play a critical role in the pathogenesis of hypertension among the younger population,” researchers note. However, the study did have limitations like a lack of a control group and the use of just one measure to examine stress hormones.
While measuring our stress levels through a urine test seems impractical as a regular measure, the study provides helpful insights. It’s important that you put into practice stress management techniques that can help reduce your anxiety levels.
For example, deep breathing techniques, tai chi, yoga, and listening to music are some ways you can improve stress levels. You can also lessen your worries by taking care of your heart health and taking supplements like HeartBeet Complete.
The supplement helps promote healthy circulation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and more, giving you less to worry about. Give your health the support it needs and take HeartBeet Complete along with effective stress management practices.