Articles

Can stress affect your heart?

I recently went to a lecture about how stress affects your heart. I know that an element of stress in our lives keeps us motivated and driven, but there is a fine line between good and bad stress. When you cross the line, you are at risk of heart disease.

When you think of heart disease, you may associate it with older people who have had a heart attach, a stroke, angina, or heart failure. In actual fact, if you suffer from high blood pressure, you fall under the category of heart disease or “cardiovascular disease.”

So what can you do to help your heart?

  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly
  • Stop smoking and binge drinking
  • Beware of the amount of salt in your diet. One teaspoon is sufficient
  • Avoid white refined sugar
  • Use olive oil over sunflower oil
  • Exercise regularly (2.5 hours per week is recommended)
  • Eat nuts
  • Drink at least 2 liters of water per day.

As a physiotherapist, I am a keen believer in promoting exercise. Exercise has direct benefits of reducing stress. It helps you physically, mentally and emotionally. By exercising, your body pump endorphins, which evidence shows improves mood and can help with self-confidence, mild depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation.

Written by Hily Perpinyal, Chartered Physiotherapist

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