Thousands of Americans are stressed out as they recover from the various natural disasters that shook our country recently. Unfortunately, when people are in these situations the last thing they think about is their health.
However, a cardiologist with Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center says if a person is not careful, prolonged stressful situations can trigger inflammation and risk factors that can enhance the chances of developing heart disease or making it worse for those who already have it.
“Traditionally, stress alone does not cause heart disease, but recent studies show that it can cause inflammation that affects the blood vessels that deliver blood to the body, including the heart and brain. This inflammation can potentially lead to heart attacks, strokes and other health problems,” said William A. Zoghbi, M.D., chief of cardiology at Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. “If someone has risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, chronic stressful situations can have a potentiating harmful effect.”
A study by a group of Tulane University cardiologists found that the number of heart attack-related hospital admissions continued to rise 10 years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. In addition, another group of researchers found that, compared to five years prior, heart attacks increased by more than 20 percent in the parts of New Jersey decimated by Hurricane Sandy.
People in high stress situations find it hard to focus because the tragedy is so overwhelming. This causes some to eat poorly, drink too much alcohol, chain smoke, neglect exercise and not get enough sleep. Zoghbi says it’s imperative to find time in the chaos for easing and reducing the stress.
“The hormones released by the sympathetic nervous system are increased in the body when there is a stressful situation and can increase one’s heart rate and blood pressure,” said Zoghbi, who is also the past president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). “Whether it is taking a walk, playing with your kids, meditating or exercising for 30 minutes a day, or just reading a book, it’s important that a person take time for themselves to just rest or decompress.”
Zoghbi suggests in challenging times people should find a stress management class, engage with supportive friends and family, talk to a psychologist or whatever it takes to avoid heart disease and other potentially fatal ailments in the future.
RT @BCMHouston_News: Symptoms of #OCD can be exacerbated by #holiday season stress, says @bcmhouston's @emcingvale. She shares her story wi…
All the comforts of home to welcome your new bundle of joy. Tour our birthing suites in League City on Wed. 12/20.… https://t.co/Q0ABQz7MPt
All the comforts of home to welcome your new bundle of joy. Take a look at the state-of-the-art birthing suites at our League City Campus. Join us for a tour on...
Research shows that influenza epidemics are associated with a rise in deaths from heart disease and that flu can tr… https://t.co/YB480JPPDK
We wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah! Come by and see our Menorah in front of the Jewish Institute for Medical Researc… https://t.co/J2R8egeaY9
Baylor College of MedicineBaylorCollegeOfMedicine
We wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah! Come by and see our Menorah in front of the Jewish Institute for Medical Research now through Dec 20th. #Hanukkah
TAMU Health Sciences@TAMHSC
RT @AggieNetwork: Congrats to this ’85 grad! 🎉 Read more here: https://t.co/yzcZWz04tp https://t.co/ylR4n46FGb
Rice’s Linda Capuano has confirmation hearing for @ENERGY post. https://t.co/Tk0SKhWVfH https://t.co/zplcPlVOgx
We’re proud to have our Dr. Jennifer Wargo’s work on immunotherapy and a healthy microbiome included in… https://t.co/TdTsRyXpkU
U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsVeteransAffairs
For the past two summers, Northport VA Medical Center staff has used the serene setting of Indian Lake, nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, to create a healthy...
RT @jordanorange: Thank you! @tamestx for this honor of the O'Donnell Award - https://t.co/CBdJRChnl4 - what a wonderful environment to adv…
RT @focusedonhealth: #HepatitisC risk factors: -Baby boomer -Organ/blood transplant before 1992 -HIV https://t.co/Ofpq4Dsqcl #CancerMoonsh…
@sophiaaabell We're praying for your grandma, Sophia. Let us know if she needs anything while she's here.
#VAntagePoint: Community, VA social worker help Veteran rebuild home destroyed by fire. https://t.co/BZIJ18D2Db