How extreme job stress is ruining your heart health

Work-related stress is common and can increase your risk of developing heart diseases. (Rawpixel pic)

Everyone reacts differently to stress. Some feel trapped like they were in a cage, while others find it relatively easy to relieve stress.

Either way, stress not only has a negative effect on one’s mental health, but on one’s physical health as well.

In fact excessive stress, especially if it’s job related, can have a negative impact on your heart and act a precursor to high blood pressure, asthma, ulcers, and other health conditions.

Job-related stress usually results in elevated blood pressure, a rapid heartbeat, and sweaty palms. Feeling worn out and fatigued most of the time are other common symptoms.

Before long, uncontrolled stress can take a toll on your behaviour too, thus easily fuelling your anger.

You may also find it hard to fall asleep at night or concentrate and easily come down with a cold that refuses to go.

If you notice one or more of these signs, you are more likely to suffer a heart attack if you don’t do something about it soon.

Stress and your heart

Stress can contribute to factors often associated with heart disease or raise the risk of contracting a heart disease. Smoking, overeating, high levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure are some of the more common results of stress.

Some people, for instance, relieve feelings of stress by indulging in a pint of ice-cream or turning to alcohol while others smoke, or binge eat.

These habits can wreak havoc on your blood pressure, which will gradually wear out your heart’s artery walls.

When you are stressed, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, hormones that help you focus on completing a task but can cause, albeit temporarily, elevated blood pressure as well as accelerated breathing and a faster heart rate.

More evidence is still needed to determine the association between stress and heart disease, but excessive consumption of alcohol caused by constant stress can have severe consequences.

Reading is a great form of escaping and helps relieve stress built-up during the work day. (Rawpixel pic)

Managing stress

The first thing you can do to try and manage your stress levels is to speak to your bosses about it and suggest some practical solutions.

You can request for more time to complete your task, ask for training opportunities to gain more expertise or even appeal to be given a different role.

By doing this, you can help alleviate your stress levels, and address your depression, anxiety and high blood pressure.

If these suggestions are not feasible, one other way to manage stress is to try and relax after a period of working hard. Consider taking up a sport, reading a book you love, meditating, talking to friends, or pursuing a cherished hobby.

The aim is to throw yourself, body and soul into anything that cheers you up and helps you relax during your off-hours. One thing you must consciously do is make a clear distinction between work and relaxation and learn to switch off from work matters once the work day is done.

Also, do not smoke and drink alcohol or coffee excessively. Instead eat a delicious meal loaded with healthy food and remember to maintain a positive spirit.

This article first appeared on Hello Doktor and medically reviewed by the Hello Doktor Medical Panel. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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