National Heart Month – Managing stress
As you may be aware, February is National Heart Month and we’ll be doing a blog piece every week looking at all matters of the heart. This week we’ll be looking at managing stress and what it has to do with heart health.
Stress and heart health
The British Heart Foundation makes the point that stress has not been scientifically proven to cause coronary heart disease or heart attacks, but if you have these conditions already, then stress can bring on symptoms, such as angina, and exacerbate the problem.
Stress can be brought on by pressures such as work, money and relationship problems. This can lead to specific hormones being released in the body to deal with the stress, which is also known as the “flight or fight” response. This response can affect a person’s heart rate and the size of the blood vessels. Therefore stress can have an effect on the work rate of the heart and the circulatory system. If the stress is chronic and is prolonged over a period of time, then this could cause problems, especially in patients already suffering from heart conditions.
Stress can also lead to risky behaviour that could harm your heart. This includes activities such as smoking, drinking alcohol or over-eating, in order to cope with the added pressures. All these habits can be associated with added stress in people’s lives and all increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
For more information on heart diseases and how you can beat them, please visit the British Heart Foundation’s web page.
We can all be susceptible to stress at certain points in our lives, but it’s important to deal with stress in healthy ways and to talk to people about the causes of your stress. Exercising and eating a balanced diet are known to be good for stress release, but it’s about what fits on a person-by-person basis. Not everyone will be able to release stress in the same ways and it’s important to find ways that work for the individual.
Noticing the symptoms is key to managing stress effectively. Being able to recognise them early will be able to help someone cope with the symptoms before they get on top of them. This will decrease the likelihood of someone turning to smoking or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
The common physical symptoms of stress can include headaches, an upset stomach, chest pain, insomnia and grinding teeth amongst others. These symptoms are not exclusive to stress but should be looked out for.
The final key part of managing stress effectively is being able to recognise what triggers a person’s stress. Recognising what makes a person stressed gives them the chance to avoid it completely or allows them to prepare more fully for it. For example, if someone is always getting stressed about money, they can make themselves a budget so they can be more confident in their allocation of funds.
If stress becomes a real problem in a person’s life then they should look to speak to a professional who can help them cope better with it.
How can Ashtons help?
Prolonged stress can also lead to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. This means it’s extremely important to tackle stress head-on and from the outset, because stress can ‘snowball’ and before you know it, can get out of hand.
Ashtons does provide a variety of stress-related products, including stress balls, sprays and tablets. You can view our full stress range here.
You can order these products by visiting our online ordering website, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 0345 222 3550.