Take A Load off Your Heart: How Stress Can Hurt Your Health

| Hillary Rotunda

The year 2020 was stressful for many Americans. Layoffs, sickness, and a multitude of restrictions created a potential stress on many of our hearts. It is no secret that stress leads to heart disease which is the number one killer of Americans.1 Even though you may be trying to eat healthy, exercise the recommended amount of time and squeeze in enough sleep, are you managing your stress?

Stress may cause damage to your heart, When you are stressed by an event, your body releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenaline raises your heart rate and blood pressure, and cortisol releases glucose into the blood stream along with slowing down the digestive process, the growth process and reproductive system.  When cortisol rises, there are changes in communication to the brain, altering mood and motivation. When the stressor passes, the hormones level out as do the natural responses that come with them. However, with chronic stress, the level of the hormones constantly remains high which leads to possible disruption to all body functions.1

It is important to notice how your body reacts to stress, as well as your coping mechanisms. When feeling stressed, you may naturally exercise, drink, smoke, and eat your favorite salty snack. You may feel anxious, feel your heart race, or drum your fingers on the table. Recognizing your tendencies can help you tackle your stress right away. It is important to find the best way to relieve your it. Here are some ideas:

  1. Disconnect: With social media, negative news and a flood of emails, unplugging from the outside world can give you a moment to reflect on your life, accomplishments and blessings.
  2. Exercise: Besides the immediate stress relief that working out can bring, exercise also combats heart disease on its own.
  3. Participate in a relaxing activity: Taking a warm bath, listening to calming music or curling up with a good book can all be ways to take your mind off of any stress you may have.
  4. Family and friends: Surround yourself with people who are important to you. Being able to laugh, share stories and even vent about what may be stressing you out might just do the trick.
  5. Seek a therapist: If you have chronic stress, it may be a good idea to seek professional help. A therapist can help change your perspective, help work through problems and brainstorm stress relieving techniques.

Everyone handles stress differently, so trial and error to find your outlet could be a long process. However, as soon as you find the best way to relieve stress, it can help protect your heart and body against the detrimental effects. For help protecting your heart through living a healthy life, visit our website to set up a free consultation with one of our professionals!

In Health,

Hillary Rotunda

Hillary Rotunda, B.A.
LYL Executive Assistant

Starting from when she was a little girl, Hillary’s passion has always been in living a healthy way of life through movement and eating right. She played many sports when growing up but ended up sticking with volleyball and softball through college at Concordia College in Moorhead. While at Concordia, she earned a double major in exercise science and nutrition, graduating in 2015. After moving to the cities from my long-time home in the Fargo area, she was not quite sure what her passion was until she started working as a personal trainer. She learned from brilliant personal trainers and physical therapists, which led to her discovery of corrective exercise being her passion. She has decided to finish up the classes needed to apply for physical therapy school, which she plans on doing soon! She is excited to be at Live Your Life Physical Therapy to learn as much as she can from Dr. Norman and all the physical therapist on staff!


1 “Chronic Stress Puts Your Health at Risk.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Mar. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037#:~:text=Adrenaline%20increases%20your%20heart%20rate,of%20substances%20that%20repair%20tissues.

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