What is Coronary
Coronary heart disease
(CHD) has become a common disease these days and it affects 1 in every 5
people. It is the most common form of heart disease and it is caused by the
narrowing of the coronary heart arteries, where the vessels supply the heart
with blood. The vessels become narrowed or closed overtime and the flow of
oxygen and nourishment to the heart is partially or completely obstructed or
blocked. The body reacts when there is a shortage of oxygen and nourishment
which can cause pain (also known as angina pectoris) that radiated across the
chest and arm and a heart attack could happen if there is a severe deprivation
of oxygen to the heart.
The risk factors for
coronary heart disease include age, gender, family history, lifestyle and
stress level. For example, people who are older and have a higher level of
stress and is usually more prone to getting such disease and fall ill. As well
as people with unhealthy lifestyle. For example, having a poor diet can contribute
to stress, tiredness and it increases the risk of having health problems like
hypertension and obesity. These illnesses will then lead to a more serious
disease like the coronary heart disease if it is not taken care of.
The common symptoms of
coronary heart disease include rapid heart rate, feeling breathless and having
a sharp pain in the chest. For example, when the artery is narrowed or blocked,
the heart has to work extra hard to be able to pump the blood the rest of the
body, thus resulting in an increase in heart rate and causing one to be short
of breath. As for the common causes, it includes smoking, high blood pressure
or having an unhealthy lifestyle as all these factors threatens and damage the
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s way of
responding to any kind of demand or threat. Some of the factors that can
contribute to stress could be the pressure that one faces at home or during
work, like having financial issues, bad family environment, lack of social
support from family and friends and also the major changes in life that they
are facing. For example, having to pay off a mountain of bills, having to take
responsibility of raising the whole family or a broken family, having a
demanding boss that expects perfection and has no tolerance to any mistakes
made or having lots of work or project deadline to complete. All these factors
could contribute to stress, which hinders and disrupts nearly every system in
the body as it can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and
reproductive system, which can lead to serious health problems like depression,
anxiety and getting a heart attack or stroke.
The cognitive symptoms of
stroke often include memory problems, loss of concentration, constant worrying,
having anxious or racing thoughts and seeing only the negative side of things.
As for the emotional and physical symptoms, it includes agitation, being moody
or easily irritated, chest pains and the increase in heart rate.
Stress itself is a major risk factor for
heart disease as it exposes the body to unhealthy and persistently elevated
level of stress hormone like adrenaline and cortisol. Studies also show how
stress affects the way the blood clots and how it increases the risk of heart
So, how does
stress trigger acute coronary events?
When one undergoes high level of stress,
it may cause them to smoke, exercise lesser, binge or skip meals and eventually
lead to an increase in their blood pressure. Let’s take smoking as an example. People
often smoke to relieve their stress as the nicotine in the cigarette produces
dopamine which causes feelings of pleasure and relaxation, which the body
craves for it again and again and it often leads to an addiction. However, the perceived “relaxation” is
causing a negative impact to the body as it is experiencing increased stress
which increases the blood pressure and heart rate. The muscles will then become
tensed up and less oxygen will be able to reach the body and brain. Smoking
damages the heart and blood circulation, which will trigger acute coronary
events such as CHD, heart attack and stroke.
I feel that it is advisable for Maria to
heed Tandra’s advice to visit the doctors as the symptoms that she is currently
having or facing (negative emotions, stress and emotional pressure) could lead
to a serious health problem if she choose to ignore it. Most people feel that
they will be fine after a period of but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Heading to the doctor for a check-up will allow Maria to be aware of her
condition and how she can better handle the negative stress that she is
Besides visiting the doctors, there are
also other ways for Maria to better manage her stress and negative emotions.
For example, she can have a positive change in lifestyle by having a healthy
diet and being more active physically. For example, exercising can have a
positive impact on both her physical and mental health as it boosts serotonin,
endorphins (which helps one to enlighten the mood) and other feel good
chemicals to the brain. These triggers the growth of new brain cells and
connections which acts like antidepressant.
Also, it is important to have a positive
social support from family and friends as it improves one’s well-being and to
have better coping skills. A positive social circle can also help to reduce
one’s stress as they can encourage each other to be positive and overlook the
negative thoughts. Tandra is a good example of a positive social support as she
encourages and advice Maria to visit the doctor.