Although the term “stress” is in general use, there has never been any agreement as to what it actually means. Factors that may lead to feelings of stress include:
- Depression, anxiety, panic disorder.
- Social isolation and lack of social support.
- Life events such as bereavement.
- Work-related “stressors”.
- Anger and hostility.
How you manage stress is important. It may lead to behaviours that are proven to increase heart disease risk such as smoking, physical inactivity and overeating.
After a heart attack, people who feel overwhelmed by stress should talk to their doctor or other health professionals. Medication usually doesn’t help stress. Some ways to manage stress include:
- Regular exercise.
- Maintaining a positive attitude.
- Not smoking.
- Reducing caffeine intake.
- Healthy diet.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- National Heart Foundation of Australia 2003, “Stress” and coronary heart disease: Psychosocial factors, viewed 21 May 2013, http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/Stress-Consumer-Information.pdf
- Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland 2013, Reduce stress , viewed 21 May 2013, http://www.chss.org.uk/heart/reducing_the_risks/reduce_stress.php
- American Heart Foundation 2013, Stress management, viewed 21 May 2013, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/StressManagement/Stress-Management_UCM_001082_SubHomePage.jsp