Connection between Stress and heart strokes

The link between stress and heart attack or stroke has been established by analyzing brain scans in one of the clinical studies. The study conducted in the past revealed that people with increased activity in their amygdala which is often termed as ‘fear center’ of the brain are prone to higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The study followed up with 293 adults for 2-5 years and it identified that 22 patients with more active amygdala experienced cardiovascular diseases (1).

What is amygdala?

The amygdala is located near the base of the brain. There are two, one in each hemisphere or side of the brain. This is the region where emotions are given meaning, remembered, and attached to associations and responses to them (emotional memories) (2).

 

How stress leads to heart stroke?

Stress increases pressure on heart and heart starts working harder due to which blood pressure increases and this further leads to increase in sugar and fat levels in
the blood. This increases risk of clot formation and dislodgement of the clot to brain or heart which causes heart attack or stroke.

Stages of body response to stress
Man running

Stage 1: Mobilization of energy

Stage 2: Consumption of energy

Stage 3: Exhaustion

Stage 1: Mobilization of energy

When you feel threatened and afraid, the amygdala automatically activates the fight-or-flight response by sending out signals to release stress hormones that prepare your body to fight or run away. This response is triggered by emotions like fear, anxiety, aggression, and anger. However, response to the stressors differs from person to person. You may experience tremors or frequent urination, increase in heart rate, rapid breathing, dizziness or lightheadedness, cold sweats, and butterflies in the stomach (2)(3).

Stage 2 : Consumption of energy
If you do not recover from stage 1 then body will begin to release stored sugars and fats and you will experience symptoms such as pressure, fatigue, overeating or poor diet, anxiety, difficulty in concentrating for example, you cannot focus on single task which results in non-productivity and frequently use mobile, and you may experience frequent illness with cold and flu (3).

Stage 3 : Exhaustion

Long term stress leads to chronic stage and other illnesses such as insomnia, heart disease (3)(4). Do you know Sumondo’s mindfulness exercises helps you in stress management, read more about the article of relationship between stress and coronary heart diseases provided in the reference section (4). You can also contact us by writing to info@sumondo.co or trying out our app for few months.

 

References

1) Feeling stressed? Research shows how stress can lead to heart attacks and stroke, available at:
https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/news/behind-the-headlines/stress-and-heart-disease
2) What is an amygdala hijack? April 22, 2019. Available at:
https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/amygdala-hijack
3) Stress Basics, available at:
https://www.heartandstroke.ca/healthy-living/reduce-stress/stress-basics#:~:text=There%20are%20undeniable%20links%

20between,a%20heart%20attack%20or%20stroke.
4) Kurd Bushra J., Dar Mudassir I., Shoaib Maria, Malik Laraib, Aijaz Zobia , Asif Iqra. Relationship between stress and coronary heart disease.
Asian Cardiovascular and Thoracic Annals, 2014, Vol. 22(2) 142-147. Available at :

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