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Your Healthy Family: How stress can impact your heart

Posted at 4:35 PM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 07:49:08-04

In this Your Healthy Family, did you know doctors say your mental health — and particularly stress — can have an impact on your heart health?

It’s hard to avoid the stresses of every day life; taking care of your family, work, balancing everything else life throws your way. But doctors say stress can raise your blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease.

"Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States," Dr. Laxmi Mehta, a Cardiologist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said.

She said stress can also cause a condition known as “Broken Heart Syndrome,” which can feel like a heart attack. She said the most common symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath.

"If you notice there's something different about yourself — you're getting more short of breath — you're fatigued, you should seek immediate medical attention," Dr. Mehta said.

She said depression and anxiety can also put extra stress on your heart. The Cleveland Clinic said unmanaged anxiety can lead to high blood pressure, arterial damage, irregular heart rhythms, and a weakened immune system. It also said depression can increase the risk of a heart attack or blood clots, in people with heart disease.