We had a feeling stress played a part in heart attacks, but we didn't fully believe it. Last night we stumbled upon a couple of articles from ABC News and msnbc's blog outlining just what we had suspected: stress does take a toll on our hearts. We were stunned by this statistic:
"U.S. women who rated their job strain as high were 67 percent more likely to have a heart attack, and 38 percent more likely to experience a stroke or high blood pressure, compared with women who said their job strain was low."
The high levels of stress talked about in this recent study (published yesterday by PLoS One) are levels that exceed what our body can handle or properly manage. I do want to add this in, any level of stress, whether it be manageable or not, still affects our tickers. So, don't discount any level of stress!
How does high stress contribute to heart related problems? Our blood pressure increases (one of the most common risk factors), a build-up of plaque in arteries and insulin resistance. People who are under stress tend to drink or smoke excessively and have been known to have poor eating habits. All of these factors contribute to heart disease related problems and all increase when we deal with an abnormal amount of stress.
The key to managing stress? Everyone finds a different way to relax and de-stress. As avid, one might say obsessive, knitters we find that stress leaves our fingertips with knits and purls. Yoga, running and kickboxing are also great stress relievers. What's one way YOU de-stress?