A UVA Heart & Vascular Center Initiative

So Long, Stress. Hello, Healthy!

Posted January 30, 2017

Feeling frazzled? Overwhelmed? All that stress could be wreaking havoc on your health, especially your heart health. That’s why UVA Club Red is devoting Heart Month 2017 to helping you reduce stress and achieve a calm mind, happy heart and healthier you.

Are You Overstressed?
We all experience stress, yet each of us has a different threshold for just how much we can handle. We also react to stress in different ways. To recognize when you’ve reached your tipping point, it’s important to pay attention to your body. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, it’s time to talk to your doctor.

  • Racing heart
  • Insomnia
  • Aches/pains, tense muscles
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure

These symptoms may be the first signs of a more serious health problem, so be sure be sure to bring them to your doctor’s attention at your next appointment.

How Does Stress Impact Your Heart?
Emotions like stress and anger trigger the sympathetic nervous system, releasing adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Although normal and useful in some instances, this increased nervous system response can trigger a heart attack or dangerous arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), and may eventually cause damage to the coronary arteries within the heart if the response occurs too frequently. If you are experiencing ongoing or severe heart-related symptoms (listed above), don’t hesitate to see a cardiologist or visit the emergency room.

Top 10 Tips for Stress Relief
While you can’t eliminate stress from your life entirely, there are steps you can take to keep it in check. In recognition of Heart Month 2017, we challenge you to tackle the following 10 stress busters:

  1. Get moving
  2. Eat healthy
  3. Embrace mindfulness
  4. Talk to a friend or loved one
  5. Keep a journal
  6. Get organized
  7. Don’t overcommit
  8. Improve sleep hygiene
  9. Help others
  10. Get a checkup

Visit us on Facebook to share your progress and tell us your favorite ways to unwind.

Plus! We hope you’ll join us at one (or all) of our Heart Month events!