Women, Take Stress to Heart


According to a recent study, women’s hearts may be especially vulnerable to the effects of stress. During a stressful experience, women showed a greater restriction in their blood vessels compared with men, the study reported. When blood vessels constrict, it decreases blood flow and oxygen to your heart. This can lead to a condition called cardiac ischemia, which can cause chest pain and heart attack.

Give Yourself a Stress Test
Signs that stress may be taking a toll on your well-being include:

  • • Aches and pains, such as headache, backache, neck ache, tight muscles, or clenched jaw
  • • Changes in energy level and sleep habits
  • • Feeling anxious, angry, or depressed
  • • Being easily irritated or confused
Put Stress to Rest
Here are some tips from the Allegan Medical Clinic Psychological Medicine staff on ways you can reduce stress:
  • • Say no. Consider your priorities and don’t be afraid to say no if something doesn’t fit with them.
  • • Avoid triggers. While it isn’t possible to avoid all stressors, sometimes you can. For example, if going certain places or being around certain people makes you feel stressed, try to avoid them.
  • • Exercise. Find an activity you enjoy doing, whether that’s walking, biking, or taking an exercise class. Making it part of your daily life will help you feel better in body and mind.
If you think that stress may be affecting your heart health, make an appoint-ment with your primary care provider. It’s never too late to adopt a healthier, less-stressed lifestyle.

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