Does Stress Really Cause Heart Attacks?

 

heart-attack-stress

Having an overactive amygdala as the result of stress can lead to heart attack, according to Huffington Post. Harvard University teame up with a local hospital to study heart attack, stress, and the brain. Researchers found the more active the amygdala is, the more likely they are to experience a “cardiac event” or develop heart problems. Those with amygdalas which did not qualify as “overactive” were less likely to experience the development of heart problems.

“When stress triggers the amygdala,” the article explains, “it activates bone marrow and inflammation of the arteries to create the conditions for a heart attack.” Heart inflammation is a leading known cause for heart attack. When there is inflammation, the arteries can become constricted and blocked. Arteries which cannot function properly reduce or completely cut off the blood from reaching the heart causes heart attack. Additionally, more studies are revealing that bone marrow is connected to blood clots. Inflammation which affects bone marrow can then create blood clots, thus stimulating a cardiac event.

How Stress Stimulates The Amygdala

The amygdala is responsible for many functions. One of it’s primary functions is regulating fear. Stress is sent through the body by way of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol which are part of the body’s fight-or-flight response. When the brain suspects a threat, whether it is real or perceived, it activates the amygdala to cope with it. Chronic stress keeps the amygdala activate more than it needs to be. Rather than be able to combat and regulate the stress, an overactive amygdala will fail in managing stress. This becomes a double edged sword. On one side, there is stress causing an overactive amygdala. On the other side, there is an overactive amygdala causing more stress.

Reducing Stress Is Increasing Heart Health

For recovery from rugs and alcohol managing stress becomes an important tool so as not to encourage a relapse. Drinking and abusing drugs often become compulsive reactions for people to deal with stress in their lives. Managing stress is important psychologically, physically, and spiritually. Working on stress in all three areas can help reduce the effects of stress on the heart.

 

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