The impact of stress on your heart

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Emil Jones has a defibrillator installed in his heart, and he thinks he knows what may be partially responsible.

"Stress has something to do with everybody and their heart," said Jones, a heart patient.

The number one killer by far of American men and women is heart disease.

Dr. Mangla said nearly 320,000 Americans die every year from sudden cardiac arrest.

From 18 to 80 years old, Dr. Mangla said over the past six months, he has seen an increasing number of patients and performed more surgeries than before.

"I think people are under difficult times," Dr. Mangla said.

He said these stressful times can make patients feel worse about their existing medical problems.   He said doctors have also known for 50 years that people with Type A personalities are more prone to heart disease, but stress makes everyone vulnerable.

"Stress in any form is stress on your heart also.   It not only accelerates the chronic diseases of the heart, which are existing already, it also increases the perception of the existing problem," Dr. Mangla said.

So how does stress actually hurt your heart?

Dr. Mangla explains, "The hormonal changes that occur during stress makes the heart work harder and actually accelerates the heart failure, and we've seen more hospitalizations during these feelings of stress."

He said people not wanting to spend money on their medications or insurance is a growing problem.   A problem he said will get worse before it gets better.  However, he offers advice on ways to bring down those levels.

"I think physical relaxations, like an exercise program.   Enjoying, if you're laid off, enjoying your family and the things you enjoy doing," Dr. Mangla said.

He also said to eat well, exercise often, and remember stressing will not help any of your situations, but take it from a man willing to offer a little heart to heart.

"Do not smoke, do not drink, get plenty of rest and do your exercises," Jones said.

Dr. Mangla encouraged those experiencing heart problems to seek help regardless of the financial situation.   He said the medical community will work with patients to make sure they get the care they need.