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Welcome to Doctor Warrick's Podcast Channel.
Warrick Is a practicing cardiologist with a passion for improving care by helping patients understand their heart health through education. Warrick believes educated patients get the best health care. Discover and understand the latest approaches and technology in heart care and how this might apply to you or someone you love.
Hi, my name is Dr. Warrick Bishop, and I'd like to welcome you to my consulting room. Today I'd like to speak with you with something that comes up in my consultations on a regular basis and that is the patients ask me: Does stress cause heart attacks? It's a pretty reasonable question. The broad answer is they probably do. The difficulty, of course, is that it's very hard to measure stress. Well, how could stress be implicated? We know that stress can push your blood pressure up. So if you're in a stressful situation on an ongoing basis then that will certainly push up your blood pressure, and have wear and tear on your arteries and certainly increase your risk of heart attack.
Stress can also increase your cortisol levels. These are hormones that alter some of the constituents of the blood which may be adverse or not so good for your risk of heart attack. Those cortisol levels could push up sugar levels and move you towards the diabetic spectrum and we know that on its own is a risk of heart attack. We know that stress can lead to poor sleep. And poor sleep is really damaging in so many ways. But again it impacts on the metabolism and can have an effect on the way our cortisol and sugars and lipid profile are activated within the body.
Stress can make us see it differently. Some people actually eat for comfort during stress. And if you're eating for comfort, you think of the comfort foods that people might reach for. They're often not the things that you would choose if you're looking at a healthy diet. Stress can also drive people to drinking more alcohol. And although one or two glasses a day on a regular basis is a very good thing for your heart health as far as we understand, we do know that more than one or two drinks a day can start to increase blood pressure in the longer term can alter sleep patterns and again have a detrimental effect on that person's risk of heart attack. Increased stress may also mean that it impacts on people's lifestyle so they're less able to exercise and so less able to look after themselves because they're bearing the brunt of the stress within their lives but stress is such a complicated issue. Is it sudden stress, is it chronic stress, is it good stress, is it bad stress?
Good stress may be the stress that someone has while they are racing a motor vehicle and they're under stress trying to keep it on the road; eustress; the bad stress may be having a boss who on a daily basis is critical, and degrading, and picks for no reason at all. Stress is a very complex issue. I don't know how to deal with it. It almost certainly has a role in heart attack and in general health. My suggestion though is you figure out where the bad stress is in your life and whatever you could do to try to reduce it if you possibly can. Hope you found that little talk about stress interesting. I didn't find it too stressful to give to you. As always I wish you the very best in health. Thank you for joining me and goodbye.
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