Stress puts your body in high gear so you can swerve to avoid that close call on the highway or plow through a pile of paperwork to meet an impending deadline. In response to a stressor, the body releases hormones such as adrenaline, which increase your heart rate and blood pressure and leave you breathing more rapidly. You may also find yourself sweating. When stress becomes chronic, you may experience symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches, and you may pay a price in the form of a weakened immune system, not to mention sour moods.
The link between stress and heart disease is not clear, but one thing’s for sure -- over-the-top stress can, over time, make heart disease risk factors such as hypertension and high cholesterol levels worse.
If you’re having a hard time handling stress, stress management classes may be the solution. They can provide you with techniques for coping with the stress in your life that you can't avoid.
More Answers from Mehmet Oz, MD