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Managing Stress is Important to Heart Health December 18, 2009

For more information, call Rebecca Sylvester at 706/828-2394.

Managing Stress is Important to Heart Health

AUGUSTA, GA. (Dec. 18, 2009) While rushing around to ensure everything is perfect this holiday season, remember that nothing is as important as taking care of your health.

Stress is not taken seriously enough as a health threat to women, according to Beth Barranco, a registered nurse with University Hospital.

“Stress has traditionally been considered a condition that affects men, but with many women trying to balance careers with care giving, it's a real issue for them as well,” she said.

Ms. Barranco explained that during stressful moments, the autonomic nervous system releases adrenaline, the body's main stress-related hormone. This sets up a cascading reaction that includes increased heart rate and blood pressure. Stress can increase the risk of heart problems and cause feelings of helplessness and depression.

“Chronic stress can also lead to habits that negatively impact heart health, such as smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, overuse of alcohol and poor nutrition or overeating,” she added.

If you live or work in a stressful environment, Ms. Barranco said you should be aware of the toll that stress can take and make your health your top priority. She offered the following suggestions:

  • Learn what triggers your stress and try to avoid it. If that's not possible, learn to modify your response to stressful situations by thinking more rationally, behaving more assertively, talking to a friend or employing humor.
  • Learn and practice a relaxation technique, such as mediation or prayer.
  • Increase your physical activity, which reduces stress hormones.

For more information on heart health or to request a Heart Information Kit, please call 706/828-2828 or toll free 866/601-2828.

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