Your thoughts and your body might seem like two entirely separate things, but more and more medical research is finding that the thoughts and emotions you have can greatly influence your physical health. One of the most dangerous emotions seems to be stress. Chronic stress can lead to high risks of heart attacks, strokes, and other problems because it greatly impairs vein health. Keep reading to find out all about the link between your stress level and your vein health.
Why Does Stress Affect Vein Health?
As a study from the Wisconsin Medical Society’s WMJ explains, the main way that vein health is influenced by stress is through blood pressure. Any time a person is feeling stressed and upset, their blood pressure spikes. This happens because stress increases levels of cortisol and adrenaline, the hormones responsible for preparing your body for a “fight or flight” action.
Your body thinks you might be threatened, so it raises blood pressure to give you the energy to run away or fight. However, these repeated blood pressure elevations can become a problem if you are dealing with stress constantly. Chronic stress leads to heightened blood pressure and inflammation that can be quite dangerous.
What Does Stress Do to Your Veins?
Now that you know a little bit about the underlying cause for stress affecting the veins, it is time to take a look at the damaging effects of stress on the veins. Over time, the chronic high blood pressure puts constant force on the walls of veins. The vessels in the circulatory system begin to weaken and lose elasticity. There can be a lot of damage if they eventually break. Disrupted blood flow in the heart can cause a heart attack, while a lack of blood flow to the brain causes dangerous strokes.
Even if veins do not break, chronic stress causes a lot of other problems in the blood vessels. There are tiny valves in the veins that help to ensure blood flows in the right direction, and when these weaken, blood can begin flowing backward instead of moving towards the heart. This can lead to painful and unsightly varicose veins. Stress also raises inflammation throughout the veins, and this form of damage increases the risk of blood clots that can stop up blood flow through the veins.
Tips for Lowering Stress
If you are interested in saving money on varicose vein treatment, lowering your heart attack risk, or avoiding a stroke, it is important to keep your stress level down. According to Harvard University, there are many things you can do to reduce your stress levels and keep yourself feeling calm and relaxed.
- Get at least eight hours of sleep each night
- Meditate daily
- Avoid people or tasks that cause stress whenever possible
- Consider therapy to identify and manage stress triggers
- Spend time with friends and loved ones
- Exercise regularly to sweat away stress
- Spend time in nature and green spaces
- Get a soothing massage
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