Did and the number one leading cause cardiovascular


               Did you
know eighty percent of people who are 45 years and older have

cardiovascular disease due to stress. I know that this can
be true from personal experience with

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my dad, since he got diagnosed with a heart disease at 49
years old. The reason as to why he had

a heart attack was due to stress, he was working himself too
hard for hours upon hours every day.

“Stress does cause some people to act in ways that
increase their risk for heart disease,” (Dr.

Bhatt, director of the Integrated Interventional
Cardiovascular Program at Brigham and

Women’s Hospital). Stress is the main risk factor in major
life-threatening conditions and the

number one leading cause cardiovascular disease. “The link
between stress and increased risk

of developing heart disease has previously focused on the
lifestyle habits people take up when

they feel stressed such as smoking, drinking…and
overeating,” (Emily Reeve, a cardiac nurse at

the British Heart Foundation charity). Cardiovascular
disease describes a big range of conditions

that effect the heart, hence the term cardiovascular.  It also refers to the circulatory system

include the blood vessels, lungs, the brain and kidneys.
This disease is usually linked with the

buildup of fatty deposits inside the arteries, which is
known as atherosclerosis. Issues with the

heart can have severe implications for the overall health of
your body, which makes your heart

ten times more important to maintain healthy. There are six
major forms of cardiovascular

disease that include certain conditions that affect the
structures or functions of the heart, such as:

coronary artery disease, heart attack, abnormal heart
rhythms, heart failure, and congenital heart disease.

The risks of these diseases have increased over the years,
and has taken many lives along the

way. The best way to prevent these disorders is to learn
about your heart and how to keep your

body healthy. It is very important if you want to live a
healthier, more active life, which you can

achieve just by researching and educating yourself about
these diseases and taking care of your

heart in the process. I will be discussing why people with
higher levels of stress are more likely

to develop a cardiovascular disease. Which follows the
question as to which person can handle

higher levels of stress better, older adults or teens. And
lastly, I am going to research on how

stress effects the brain and mainly what happens inside your
heart. “Exploring the brain’s

management of stress and discovering why it increases the
risk of heart disease will allow us to

develop new ways of managing chronic psychological stress.”
(Emily Reeve, a cardiac nurse at

the British Heart Foundation charity). Reading this
information can help you to prevent the risks

of cardiovascular disease at an early age, which can pay off
when you get older by decreasing the

possibility of diagnosing a cardiovascular disease later on
in life. Fortunately, with proper

research and knowledge of these conditions, we can help
prevent more people in our community

as well as around the world to decrease the occurrences of
cardiovascular diseases.


Stress is a very important cause in
heart conditions, and can affect behaviors, or factors

which can cause the risk of heart disease to rise. Stress
can set off multiple events, and

negatively affect your health. When people are in a
stressful situation that’s usually upsetting but

not harmful, the body reacts by releasing adrenaline, a
hormone which causes blood pressure to

rise, breathing and heart rate to speed up. The body remains
in high gear off and on for days or

weeks at a time, when stress is constant (chronic). Chronic
stress causes blood pressure and heart


rate to rise, which can cause the artery walls to become
damaged. Chronic stress can also take a

physical toll on your body, by weakening your immune system
and uncomfortable symptoms

such as headaches or stomach problems. The way you handle
stress also matters. If people

respond to it in unhealthy ways, such as smoking, overeating,
or not exercising that makes

matters worse. The way people handle stress also matters. During
moments of high stress, the

body releases hormones such as norepinephrine, which
researchers claim “can cause the

dispersal of bacterial biofilms from the walls of the
arteries. This dispersal can allow plaque

deposits to suddenly break loose, there by triggering a
heart attack”. Stress management can be

confusing because there are three different types of stress;
acute stress, episodic acute stress, and

chronic stress which all have their own characteristics,
symptoms and treatments. Acute stress is

the most common form of stress in everyday life, it comes
from demands or pressure of the past

and near future. Acute stress is a development of severe
anxiety, dissociation, and other

symptoms that occurs within one month after exposure to an
extreme traumatic situation. Some

common symptoms of acute stress include; emotion distress
(anger, anxiety and depression),

problems to do with muscles (headache, back pain and jaw
pain), stomach problems (heartburn,

acid stomach) and briefly over arousal which could lead to
rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms and

elevation in blood pressure. Episodic acute stress is for
those who suffer acute stress frequently,

whose lives revolve around chaos and crisis. This type of
stress is for people who take on too

much at one time, are always irritated and short tempered.
Studies show that people who have

episodic acute stress are much more likely to develop
coronary heart disease that people who

show an opposite pattern of behavior. The symptoms for
episodic acute stress fall under; tension

headaches, migraines, hypertension, chest pain and heart
disease. Chronic stress is not as

thrilling and exciting as acute stress, this type of stress
breaks people down day after day and

year after year. Chronic stress destroys the body and mind
over time. Some chronic stress comes

from traumatic childhood experiences that harden and remain
painful and present. The worst part

about chronic disease is that people eventually forget that
it’s even there. People are aware in an

instant when it comes to acute stress because it is new, but
when it comes to chronic stress it

becomes old, familiar and sometimes comfortable. Researchers
suggest that physiological factors

can contribute to cardiac risk. Challenging situations can
cause stress to play a significant role in

cardiovascular symptoms and the outcomes of heart disease
risks. Anger, depression and anxiety

can all cause a significant amount of stress on the heart,
but stress has been documented to use

various forms that take a toll on the heart. Workplace
stress is one of the most common factor for

heart conditions. Researchers defined “job strain”
as a combination of demand and control within

workplaces. The amount, pace, and difficulty of the work
seem to be only a few of the problems

that revolve around workplace stress. Disaster related
stress has an efficiently higher risk of

triggering stress related problems for the heart. People who
had high levels or stress after a

global disaster or attack where nearly twice as likely to
develop high levels of stress immediately

and more than three times as likely to develop heart
problems compared with those who had

lower levels of stress. 
The word stress for teenagers is usually triggered by school work, tests

exams, bullying, or problems with friends or family. Feeling
low and feeling stressed are two

different things, when people are stressed they may feel
sad, irritable and distracted. Stress can

affect teens emotionally and physically, though different
people react differently to stress there

are a few signs you may want to keep a look out for in
teens. Teens may feel tired, weak, have

trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, or eating much more than
normal.  They often find it difficult

to concentrate, have tight/knotty feelings in their
stomach, and avoid relationships or going out

altogether. Even though teen may not have heart conditions
at the time, being stresses could

cause more problems later on in life. Teens are more likely
to make bad choices such as; eating

unhealthy foods, smoking and drinking too much alcohol which
could then lead to emotional and

physical problems when older. We all have stress throughout
life, and it’s even harder to handle

when we’re young. Managing our stress is not getting easier
as we age, in fact it becomes

significantly harder. 
“We tend to have less resilience to stress, and older adults often
find that

stress affects them differently now,” says Dr. Michelle
Dossett, an internal and integrative

medicine specialist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind
Body Medicine. So, what is the

difference about coping with stress when we get older?
“Our cells are aging. Heart fitness and

lung capacity decline, especially if you’re sedentary,”
says Dr. Dossett. Which keeps us from

sufficiently accommodating the body’s natural stress
response. Having a chronic disease already

can be even harder to come back physically from the toll
that stress brings upon the body. Stress

can bring on a difference mentally as well, “Normally when we’re stressed, our brains

flooded with stress hormones, the midbrain takes over, and
the front of the brain—which

controls concentration, attention and decision-making—works
less well. Stress hormones in the

brain can also contribute to short-term memory problems that
are unrelated to dementia or age-

related memory loss. Restorative sleep helps to flush stress
hormones from the brain. However,

many older adults have sleep problems. Stress may make it
more difficult to fall back asleep, and

the inability to clear these stress hormones from the brain
during sleep means that the cognitive

effects of stress can worsen over time,” says Dr.
Dossett. Stress that affects elders are the loss of

loved ones, too much free time on their hands, and loss of
physical ability such as; sound, vision,

balance and mobility. People may think that once you get
older it gets depressing and unhappy,

but surveys say otherwise. Elders where more physically
disabled and had cognitive impairment

than teens, naturally but mentally people in their 20’s
reported having the highest level of stress,

anxiety, depression and lower levels of happiness and
satisfaction. Elders were surprisingly

happier than teens and younger adults.  “As they got older, it looks like things started

better for them,” Dr.Jeste says. “It suggests that with age,
there’s a progressive improvement in

mental health.” what is so horrible about being young?  Real life begins, with lots of financial,

educational, romantic and career-oriented demands and
choices, Dr.Jeste says. “There is constant

peer pressure: you’re looking at others and always feeling
bad that you’re not succeeding like

some of them, and you feel like you have lots of choices but
you’re not really making use of

them.” Teens have a lot on their plates, what with school
and balancing a job not to mention

getting closer to becoming an adult and entering the real
world. Overall, teens seem to have a

huge chunk of stress they have to worry about compared to
elders who have already lived their

lives and made all the hard and important choices in their
life, whereas it’s just beginning for

teenagers. When a person is under a threat your body’s
stress response kicks in, once the brain

decides that there is danger. The hypothalamus, when in
stress sends signals to the nerves that

travel down the spine to the adrenal glands which informs
them to release the hormone

adrenaline. Adrenaline increases sugar, which in turn
increases blood pressure and heart rate.

The hypothalamus also has another role, it also sends
signals to the purity gland which is located

at the bottom of the brain. It releases factors that travels
through the blood stream within a few

minutes to stimulate the adrenal cortex, and later produces
cortisol which is a stress hormone.

Cortisol helps keep the blood pressure normal, and it is
very important in helping your stress

response. Short term stress is great for the body’s stress
response, long term stress on the other

hand can be dangerous and damaging if it goes on for weeks.
The immune system can deteriorate

and impair the memory by reducing the number of brain cells,
when cortisol levels are increased

for prolonged periods. The body is more likely to undergo a
heart attack or stroke when the fats

in your blood build up from a high level of cortisol. The
receptor inside many neurons can be

blinded by the cortisol released in stress, calcium is
additionally accepted by the neurons through

channels in their membrane. The brain can cope with life
threatening situations, when cortisol is

released in short term stress. Though when the neurons
become overloaded with calcium, they

fire too frequently, and in turn die. It is established that
stress can affect the brain and cause

problems, but when the brain is under a significantly large
amount of stress it can sufficiently

increase our heart disease risk. A new medical study
suggests calming the brain may be the key

to help our chances of diagnosing heart conditions. Physical
stress is a common source of stress,

but phycological stress has been an indicator of sickness.
Study’s say personal stress is very

problematic to measure, but there is a risk of personal
stress as an immense factor for

cardiovascular disease. “I think that this relatively
vague or insufficient link reduced our

enthusiasm of taking stress seriously as an important risk
factor,” said Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, a

cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Cardiovascular disease is linked to a

key part of the brain that is more active during emotional and
stressful situations. “Stress plays

an important role in heart attacks caused by a blockage in
the heart”, said Dr. Chi-Ming Chow, a

cardiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and a
Heart & Stroke spokesman.  Amygdala is

a part of the brain that is susceptible to stress.
Heightened activity in the amygdala, has been

linked previously to depression, post-traumatic stress
disorder, emotion regulation and anxiety.

Twenty-two participants were diagnosed with a heart
condition within 2.7-4.8 years and

underwent a study to scan their brain. Researchers say that
analyses reveled that heightened

activity of the amygdala increased arterial inflammation,
which heightened bone marrow activity

and raised the risk for cardiovascular conditions. After
further examination, a cross section of

participants showed a distinct connection between perceived
stress and heart disease risks. These

studies suggest that more research and experiments can help
with the decrease of heart diseases

and benefit cardiovascular health. It has been proven that
stress is a major factor that can create

many problems in the body and mind, more or so, the heart.
Even though the human body can be

healthy through exercise and a wholesome diet, the heart and
body can still be affected by stress.

There are many ways to help keep the stress levels in the
body at bay, as well as keep the mind

and body positive and healthy. People usually turn to
something that will make them feel the

opposite of stressed, some things that they may turn
to are smoking, eating unhealthy foods and

getting lazy. Smoking is the cruelest step, first of all
ingesting something toxic and dangerous in

the body is definitely not what you want to do. Smoking is
the number one leading factor in

coronary cardiovascular disease, it damages the organs which
causes them to deteriorate. The

cholesterol in the body is reduced as well as raising the
blood pressure, it eventually adds stress

to the arteries. Eating unhealthily is another one of the
top worst things to have a habit of, people

may think that abusing food and alcohol may reduce the
stress but sadly that’s not the case. By

maintaining a healthy diet, people can majorly reduce the
risk of a heart disease. Having a diet

that includes raw fruit, meat, vegetable, whole grains and
omega fatty 3 acids helps with the risk.

Avoiding foods and beverages that will worsen heart disease
is very difficult to do because those

foods are the ones which call to us the most. These foods
include high amounts of alcohol, sugar,

and salt. Watching calories is a big deal with keeping the
body and organs healthy, focusing on

foods that have high nutrient values and low calories is the
best thing to help lower stress levels.

The most important step to help lower stress is exercising.
Maintaining a routine of exercises and

workouts becomes a vital part of lowering blood pressure and
stress levels.  According to the

Clinic, “experts recommend getting at least 30
minutes of exercise per day, or 30 to 60

minutes of exercise most
days of the week. Exercise doesn’t have to be intensive. The key is to

stay active”. By
taking 10-minute power strolls, people can break up the long periods of sitting

which would, if not done on
a daily basis harm the heart. The good news is that having a positive

outlook can make everything beneficial. Human touch, playing
with pets, and being around

loved ones can drastically help with stress. Having a
beneficial lifestyle can help lower your

stress levels, which can lower your risk of cardiovascular
disease. People can affect their mood,

by getting enough sleep, mental alertness, energy level, and
physical health. Exercising alleviates

stress, helps the body to be less depressed. Relaxing
techniques can calm the body and mind.

Excellent techniques to do when you feel stressed are guided
imagery, yoga, deep breathing

exercises and Meditation.Though there are many different
factors to diagnosing a cardiovascular

disease, the most deserving is stress. Stress can cause
numerous problems for the body and not

always directly to the heart. It can affect the brain which
can signal to other parts of the body that

will in turn send signals to the heart. Stress is a disaster
waiting to happen, though many people

struggle with the causes and outcomes of stress. Researchers
have found ways to help the body

cope with stress management, and they are really easy and
helpful in the long run. Not occupying

a habit of smoking and drinking, having a consent healthy
diet, and a vigorous exercise is

valuable for the health of the heart and intentionally the
body and mind. Some may say that it is

laborious to meet the standards of keeping a healthy body,
but once people actually work hard

and energetically the result will be rewarding.