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Stress & Your Heart

February is American Heart Month, a great time for everyone to consider ways to reduce their risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

In our Health Edco product section uniquely dedicated to heart health, we offer a wide range of engaging, effective, and creative heart health teaching tools that emphasize the primary importance of managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels to help prevent the development of coronary artery disease (also called coronary heart disease), the most common form of heart disease in the United States. Our heart health education materials appeal to both young people and adults.

Heart health, however, is impacted by multiple lifestyle habits and health conditions. Our diverse educational materials and models in our product sections dedicated to nutrition, physical activity, diabetes, tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, for example, are great resources to reveal how these conditions and lifestyle factors affect heart health.

Another factor that impacts heart health is stress. Our stress management product section features educational materials that explain how stress can affect overall health, including heart health, as well as tips to help manage stress effectively. Read on to learn more about the connection between stress and heart disease, and discover some of our teaching tools that are ideal to teach tips to help manage stress for better heart health.

Use our Heart Health Education Package to provide
a comprehensive program in stroke and heart disease.

How Can Stress Affect Heart Health?

When something causes you stress, your kidneys’ adrenal glands release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones boost your energy and increase your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure, which can help you deal with the immediate stress at hand. However, if you experience chronic, ongoing stress, your body’s prolonged stress reaction can put strain on the heart. In addition to causing problems such as irritability, anxiety, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping, chronic stress can increase blood pressure, elevate blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and affect heart rhythm. Stress may also affect the way blood clots, which can increase the risk of a heart attack.

Our Stress and You Folding Display is an effective
teaching resource for stress management.

Chronic stress can also have a more indirect—but powerful—effect on heart health. For example, chronic stress can contribute to unhealthy eating habits (turning to high fat, high sugar comfort foods, for example), the use of tobacco products, the abuse of alcohol and other drugs, and a lack of physical activity. Each of these factors can contribute to the development of heart disease.

What Are Healthy Ways to Handle Stress?

  • Set priorities of what is most important to you. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do with your time, and don’t feel guilty about saying no to doing things that will increase your stress level.

  • Make time for regular physical activity. Being physically active boosts your mood by releasing endorphins. It also helps reduce your risk for heart disease by making your heart stronger, decreasing blood pressure, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.

Our Managing Stress Mini Pocket Guide provides
stretchng exercises and other great stress reduction tips.

  • Take time for yourself—read a book, go for a walk in nature, take time for your favorite hobby—do what you love!

  • Learn to relax. Practicing deep breathing or mindfulness, visualizing peaceful situations, and listening to calming music can all aid relaxation.

  • Spend time with loved ones. Making time to stay connected to the people you love can enhance relationships and reduce stress.

  • Eat a healthy diet. A diet that focuses on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat milk products while limiting unhealthy fats, added sugars, and caffeine can help you feel your best.

  • Get enough sleep. Aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night so that you feel well-rested.

  • Seek help if stress is overwhelming you. A healthcare professional can work with you to find healthy ways that can help you cope with stress.

Written for teens, our Teen Stress Folding Display
includes tips to help teens manage stress in healthy ways.

Find More Great Heart Health & Stress Management Teaching Tools

Stress reduction is important for heart health and for improving overall health. Find more great resources to teach stress reduction in our stress management product section. See more engaging educational materials to teach the facts about heart disease and stroke prevention in our heart health product section.

The information contained in this article is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please contact your healthcare professional.

©2022 Health Edco®