How to un-link the Connection between Heart Disease and Stress?

Connection between Heart Disease and Stress?

Heart attacks were once primarily a problem for elderly people. A heart attack in someone under 40 was unusual. Heart attack, cardiac arrest, and other cardiovascular diseases remain a huge issue to this day – but it is only now that we’re starting to see an increase in heart disease rates among the younger generation.

One in every five, heart attack patients are now under 40.
What leads to heart attacks in youngsters? Chat on the Mat with Dr. Fharzana will address the significant key factor that causes cardiac arrest in young people.

Fharzana Siraj, is the founder of Orange Ray Holistic Clinic.  She is a Holistic Health Coach, Acupuncturist and a Yoga therapist. Certified by Sri B.K.S. Iyengar in Yoga with a Master’s from SVYASA University, 

Bengaluru, she is currently pursuing her Ph.D. Passionate to deliver the best of eastern and western concepts, she has trained under western medical doctors and is also a Nutrition coach. She specialises in treating musculoskeletal pain and also treats lifestyle disorders through a holistic and natural approach. 

Stress and Heart Attack: Understanding the Link

hellomyyoga: How are heart diseases linked to stress?

Fharzana Siraj: Everyone has experienced stress at some or other time in their lives. If it’s within control, it can help you to perform better and even excel in your chosen field, but when out of control, it can wreak havoc in your life. Stress can come from physical causes like not getting enough sleep or having an illness. Another cause of stress can be emotional, like worrying about not having enough money or the death of a loved one. Stress can also come from less dramatic causes, like everyday obligations and pressures, that make you feel you are not in control. 

The body’s response to stress is supposed to protect you. But, if it’s constant, it can harm you. The hormone cortisol is released in response to stress. Studies suggest that the high levels of cortisol from long-term stress can increase blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure. These are common risk factors for heart disease. This stress can also cause changes that promote the buildup of plaque deposits in the arteries. 

Even minor stress can trigger heart problems like poor blood flow to the heart muscle. It is a condition in which the heart doesn’t get enough blood or oxygen. And long-term stress can affect how the blood clots. It makes the blood stickier and increases the risk of stroke.  In addition, people with a lot of stress may smoke or choose other unhealthy ways to deal with stress, which may cause high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and plaque formation. 

hellomyyoga: Why has heart attack become so prevalent in young people?

Fharzana Siraj: Today’s youth is more intelligent than the previous generations, but their current lifestyle has become a bane for their ill health.

Not making correct choices and moving away from nature has caused the advent of so many diseases early in their lives. Some of their incorrect practices are as below:

1. Sedentary lifestyle without adequate exercise/ movement and sunlight

2. Unhealthy processed food

3. Resorting to excess sugar for lifting moods

4. Late nights and late mornings

5. Too much exposure to blue light ( phones and computers)

6. Lack of physical human social interaction

7. Rise in mental health issues

8. Environmental pollution

9. Smoking/ Alcohol/substance abuse

10. Stress

hellomyyoga: Do mental stressors play a role?

Fharzana Siraj: Of course. I  have answered that in the first one.

hellomyyoga: Do exercise and healthy eating sufficient to keep your heart healthy?

Exercise and healthy eating are a great combination but not enough to keep the heart healthy if the person is constantly under stress. 

hellomyyoga: What are the other ways to deal with work and home stresses to maintain a healthy heart (what do’s and don’ts should middle-aged people follow so they can keep their hearts healthy)?

Fharzana Siraj: Dealing with stress requires a planned personal, psychological, and social effort. It needs to be worked on consistently for the best results.
Here are some suggestions:

  • Practice self-love
  • Exercise daily
  • Hydrate yourself well 
  • Eat fresh, healthy, and mindfully
  • Deep Breathe, Meditate
  • Slow down the pace of life. Make your desires and goals realistic 
  • Take breaks often with friends/family
  • Make time for hobbies.
  • Talk about your problems with people close to you
  • Work on inter-personal relationships with colleagues, friends, and family
  • Rest adequately, sleep well
  • Smile often
  • Maintain Work-Life Balance
  • Do some social work without any expectation
  • Spend time in nature

hellomyyoga: Do you think that the increasing amount of heart attacks in people who are between the ages of 40-50, will continue to shift among those under 40 owing to their lifestyle and stress levels?     

Fharzana Siraj: I hope not! hellomyyoga is doing much to create awareness about the pitfalls of an erratic lifestyle. I feel assured  Gen X, Y, and Z will be inspired to act positively.

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