How stress impacts your heart

It's really no secret that stress can play into things like heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - February is National Heart Health month, which is something we've been focusing on in our Real Men Wear Gowns campaign.

It's really no secret that stress can play into things like heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues.

“You could almost ask any cardiologist or physician in general and they'd say, ‘Yeah, stress is going to contribute,' we just don't have a way to quantify that,” says Dr. Paul Sarcia, cardiologist with HealthPartners.

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Dr. Sarcia says stress isn't always the main factor when it comes to heart complications, but it can't be overlooked.

“I think a lot of times stress actually provokes things that might be there anyway, but it brings them out,” he adds.

Dr. Joe Browning, also a HealthPartners cardiologist, says stress can raise our blood pressure and can sneak up on us in other ways.

“Stress can lead to trouble sleeping, and having your circadian rhythm sleep-wake cycle thrown off can have a lot of detrimental effect to a variety of organ systems,” Dr. Browning says.

Keeping stress from tightening its grip isn’t really rocket science. I know we hear this all the time, but Dr. Browning says getting your body in motion will do wonders.

“From a cardiac standpoint, the best way to relieve stress, and there are studies to support it, is exercise,” Dr. Browning says. “I really emphasize doing something you enjoy and it just is moving. Really, that's all that counts.”

Movement that can have a major impact on your health.