Humans have five vital organs that are essential for survival. These are the brain, heart, kidneys, liver and lungs. Heart is the most precious of them. The human body is not wired to take today’s stress levels. According to various studies, the average high school kid today has the same level of stress and anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s. So, are we being kind to our hearts today?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that cardio vascular diseases or heart diseases are the number one cause of deaths globally. Studies have found that 37% of all deaths in the world are because of heart-related issues. According to the Indian Heart Association, 50% of all heart attacks in Indians occur under 50 years of age and 25% of all heart attacks in Indians occur under 40 years of age. In India, every year more than 17 lakh people die due to heart diseases. It is expected that the figure will increase to 2.3 crore death by 2030. India has witnessed an alarming rise in the occurrence of heart disease in the past 25 years and now is the leading individual cause of disease burden The common factors that causes heart diseases include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, obesity, physical inactivity, excessive intake of alcohol and stress.
Stress is reported as one of the important risk-factors for heart diseases. The research, which is published in The Lancet, which has received widespread media coverage, claims to show for the first time how stress could be linked to heart and circulatory disease in humans. Stress itself might be a risk factor and high level of stress make other risk factors of heart diseases such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Stress may affect behaviour and habits of a person like smoking, overeating or poor diet, physical inactivity, intake of excessive alcohol which all in turn increases the risk of heart diseases. If a person experiences high stress then the body releases adrenaline, a hormone that temporarily causes the breathing and heart rate to speed up and thereby the blood pressure to rise.
India has witnessed an alarming rise in the occurrence of heart disease in the past 25 years and now is the leading individual cause of disease burden The common factors that causes heart diseases include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, obesity, physical inactivity, excessive intake of alcohol and stress.
Stress is an inevitable part of our daily life. Everyone feels stress and reacts to it in different ways. When a person is exposed to long periods of stress, then the body gives warning signals that something is wrong. These physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral warning signs should not be ignored. It shows that we need to slow down. If that person continues to be stressed and don’t give the body a break, then it leads to health problems like heart disease. Hence it is critical to know the level of stress experienced and what we can do for it. The way we handle the stress matters the most. Some physical signs shown by body when we experience stress are exhaustion, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, headaches, indigestion. Mental signs include constant worry, difficulty making decisions, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, loss of sense of humour. Emotional signs include anger, anxiety, crying, feeling powerless, frequent mood swings, irritability, loneliness, negative thinking, sadness. Behavioural signs include explosive actions, withdrawal from relationships or social situations, excessive use of alcohol, compulsive eating and bossiness.
How to manage stress
- Find out exactly what is the problem and what is your role
- Break down big problems into smaller parts and solve it
- If you can’t handle it immediately and if it is not urgent, take a break and handle it later once things have calmed down.
- Do a positive self-talk and prioritize self-care
- Meet your close friend and talk the problems
- Spend with people who make you feel loved
- Hug your loved one
- Eat healthy
- Accept that there are events we can’t control
- Be assertive instead of aggressive
- Meditate or practice yoga
- Listen to an inspirational podcast
- Engage in your hobbies like music dance, playing games, reading books
- Exercise or do something active
- Avoid or reduce the intake of alcohol
- Get more sleep
- Review your life style.
- If you cannot find a relief consult a psychologist or a trained professional in Stress management