Stress, Depression and Heart Disease
Stress can refer to physical or emotional tension. All people feel stress. Studies suggest a relationship between cardiovascular disease and stress.
Acute and chronic stress may affect:
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Physical inactivity
To manage your stress you can:
- Talk with family, friends, clergy or other trusted advisors about your concerns and stresses and ask for their support.
- Take 15 minutes a day to sit quietly, breathe deeply and think about a peaceful scene.
- Learn to accept things you can change. You don't have to solve all of life'’s problems.
- Count to 10 before answering or responding when you feel angry
- Don’t use smoking, drinking, overeating, drugs or caffeine to cop with stress. They make things worse.
- Look for the good in situations, not the bad.
- Exercise regularly. Do something you enjoy. Check with your doctor to determine your activity level.
- Try to avoid things that may upset you. Cut back on your hours at work, or adjust your schedule to avoid rush-hour traffic.
- Plan out productive solutions to problems. Set clear limits on how much you will do for friends or family members.
- Learn to say no. Don't promise too much. Give yourself enough time to get things done.
- Join a support group with which you identify.
- Seek out a mental health professional or counselor if you can't cope on your own. Helping people is their specialty. Ask your doctor, family, friends, or clergy for recommendations.
Depression is very common among individuals recovering from a heart attack. It can influence your survival rate. Patients who are depressed are 3 times more likely to die than those whoa re not. Strong social support can help protect you from the negative effects of depression.
Exercise and Mental Health
Physically active people have better mental health. They have a higher positive self-concept, more self esteem and more positive moods. Exercise may be linked to higher levels of alertness and mental ability to learn.
For more information on Cardiac Rehabilitation, see these related NetWellness features:
For more information:
Go to the Cardiac Rehabilitation
health topic, where you can:
- Read articles on this topic
- Browse the previously asked questions
This article is a NetWellness exclusive.
Last Reviewed: Apr 01, 2006
Karen Kutoloski, DO
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University