Stress and the Body: Cardiovascular System
“Worry and stress affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system, and profoundly affects heart action.” – Charles W. Mayo, M.D.
In my last blog, we spoke on the importance of the respiratory system and how stress affects it as well. One of the main issues that stress causes to the respiratory system is breathing issues. Even if you are healthy, you can hyperventilate if you are in a stressful situation, so it's imperative to incorporate stress management techniques into your daily routine. In this blog, we will be speaking about the cardiovascular system and how stress affects it and what you can do to reduce it as well. Now let's review what the cardiovascular system is.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the cardiovascular system is responsible for "getting oxygen and nutrients to your entire body and removing waste. Your cells depend on your cardiovascular system to get what they need to keep running smoothly." Your heart and many blood vessels in your body make up your cardiovascular system or circulatory system. This system also delivers oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and other important substances to the cells and organs into the body. It plays an important role in the body in helping the body meet the demands of activity, exercise, and stress. It also maintains body temperature among other things. This is why the cardiovascular system is crucial and vital to the body's overall health, functioning, and success, but what will happen to the system under stress.
There are two types of stress which the body can incur, which is chronic stress and acute stress. Acute stress is when you feel stress is the short-term. While chronic stress is when you feel stress for the long-term. These types of stress have a different effect on the cardiovascular system. During acute stress, the blood vessels that direct blood to the large muscles and the heart dilate, thereby increasing the amount of blood pumped to these parts of the body and elevating blood pressure. Now when your acute stress subsides, then you go back into your normal state. Whenever you have chronic stress and acute stress for long periods of time it has an effect on the heart and blood vessels. This consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate, and the elevated stress hormones of blood pressure, can do damage to the body. This long-term stress can cause and increase the risk of hypertension, heart attack, or stroke.
Therefore, there are various stress management exercises you can do in order to reduce the effect that stress has on your cardiovascular system, such as exercise, meditation, yoga, sleeping, napping, eating a healthy diet, etc. All of these and more are beneficial for your heart health, and hope you enjoyed this blog and stay tuned for the next one tomorrow, peace!! :)