Whether you’re dealing with a tight work deadline or unexpected car trouble, you may be feeling a little stressed. Though stress is a normal part of life, the amount of stress you have and how you react to it may have long-lasting effects on your health.
For some, stress triggers headaches or stomach pain. In others, stress may impact arterial health by increasing blood pressure or behaviors like overeating that affect blood cholesterol sugar levels.
Here at Premier Vein & Vascular in Tampa and Largo, Florida, our board-certified interventional cardiologist, Dr. Saleem Saiyad, wants you to know how stress impacts arterial health and what you can do about it.
When experiencing stress, your body’s autonomic system causes a physiological change in your body that makes you more alert, focused, and energized. That stress response is your body’s way of protecting you.
With the demands of modern life, many people experience stress on a regular basis. Your chronic stress causes a prolonged activation of your stress response. Over time, your chronic stress response disrupts your body’s equilibrium and strains your physical and emotional health.
One of the physical symptoms of chronic stress is high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure affects arterial health by damaging the walls of your blood vessel walls, which increases your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
To manage the emotional toll of your chronic stress, you may turn to food, alcohol, or smoking. These lifestyle habits may affect blood cholesterol levels and increase your risk of arterial disease such as carotid artery disease (CAD) or peripheral artery disease (PAD).
The ways you cope with stress can have a big impact on your blood pressure and arterial health. Many factors influence how you respond to stress, including your genetics, learned behaviors, and life experiences.
As previously mentioned, many people cope with stress by engaging in negative behaviors, like overeating or smoking. Because these behaviors increase your risk of developing hypertension and cardiovascular disease, it’s important to learn how to cope with stress in ways that promote health.
Physical activity is one of the best ways to improve stress and arterial health. Regular exercise boosts your mood and lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also strengthens your heart, which may improve poor circulation.
Meditation and healthy sleep habits may also help you cope with stress so it doesn’t affect your arterial health.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Taking steps to reduce and manage your stress may prevent or improve any health problems related to your stress, including arterial disease.
Arterial diseases include conditions that affect your arteries, which are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to all the organs, tissues, and cells in your body. CAD and PAD are the most common types of arterial diseases.
Your carotid arteries are the main arteries that deliver oxygen-rich blood to your brain. CAD occurs from narrowing or blockage in these arteries that limits the delivery of blood to the brain.
Your peripheral arteries supply oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. Like CAD, PAD occurs when these blood vessels become narrowed or blocked.
High blood pressure, smoking, and high cholesterol increase your risk of CAD and PAD. Improving your stress levels and coping mechanisms may lower your risk of developing an arterial disease.
We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of CAD and PAD. In addition to helping you make healthy lifestyle changes, we also perform endovascular surgery to open up narrowed or blocked arteries. That includes balloon angioplasty and stenting.
Stress is normal and, in some situations, positive. However, chronic stress taxes your body and affects arterial health. If you have concerns about vascular health, we can help. Call the office most convenient to you or request a free consultation online.