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Heart Disease and Stress

With Valentine’s day right around the corner, we think this is a great time to talk about your heart’s health. Heart health is an important topic, with heart disease being the leading cause of death in both men and women, according to the CDC. Let’s take a look at what heart disease is, and how the stress in your life can impact your heart health.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is an all inclusive term generally referring to any heart or cardiovascular problem. This includes, but not limited to:

  1. Heart attacks
  2. Coronary artery disease
  3. Heart arrhythmias
  4. Heart valve disease
  5. Cardiomyopathy

How can stress cause heart disease?

There are two major hormones that are released during stressful situations – adrenaline and cortisol.

  • Adrenaline is also known as the flight or fight response hormone. It surges through the body to prepare for a dangerous situation. It raises your blood pressure and increases your heart rate to give the body the oxygen and nutrients it will need during that situation.
  • Cortisol is also released to suppress bodily functions that are not imminent in that situation. These include immune function (that virus won’t kill you faster than that lion) and slows digestion. It also increases your body’s healing response by increasing inflammation.

Heart health on smartwatchThese hormone levels will drop once the perceived threat is gone. But what if the threat isn’t over? Stress plays a major factor in our overall health, including our heart health. Increased blood pressure, a lowered immune system, and increased inflammation is a recipe for heart disease.

Finding ways to lower your stress levels (physically, chemically, and mentally) will help keep your heart healthy. Proper nutrition, exercise, and meditation can help you cope with stress. If you need professional counseling, get it. You only have one heart, take care of it.

How can chiropractic care help lower stress and help with heart health?

How does your body know when there is a stressful situation? You brain communicates to the rest of your body through your spine. Adjusting the spine so that the nervous system can function at 100% helps the body better communicate a perceived threat, release the proper hormones, and know when that threat is over and to decrease the adrenaline and cortisol in your bloodstream. Your nervous system does a lot, and chiropractic care is here to help you take care of it. If you’d like to learn more about the nervous system, read our Nervous System 101 blog.

Get your nervous system checked today!

Make an appointment with us here.

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