Tandra’s statement of how constant stress can trigger acute coronary events is very true. There are many explanations as to why stress can be directly related to having coronary heart diseases. Firstly, let us look at what Coronary Heart Disease is all about.
Coronary heart disease is a disease in which a waxy substance, called plaque, builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to our heart muscles. When plaque builds up in the arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis. The build up of plaque occurs over many years as studied in many researches. Coronary heart disease has many symptoms that show up. One main type of symptom is called Angina. This symptom includes having chest pains and indigestion, heartburn, nausea and many more. There are about 3 types of Angina. The first one would be stable angina. In this type of, the discomfort typically lasts for a short period of time. The second type would be Unstable angina, which is caused by blood clots in the coronary artery. And the final type would be Variant angina, which occurs at rest, and is usually severe. There are also other symptoms such as shortness of breath(dyspnoea) and heart attack.
Now moving on to the causes of coronary heart diseases. There are two main types of causes to coronary heart diseases. They are physical factors and psychosocial factors. Firstly, lets analyse the physical factors briefly. They are High cholesterol intake, High blood pressure, which would be discussed later showing how it is relating to stress, smoking, thrombosis and binge drinking. All these factors cause damage or injury to the inner layer of a coronary artery, sometimes as early as childhood. For example, High cholesterol intake would cause damage to the inner wall of an artery (coronary artery). Once the inner wall of an artery is damaged, fatty deposits (plaque) made of cholesterol and other cellular waste product would accumulate at the sit of injury in a process called atherosclerosis the surface of the plaque breaks or ruptures, blood cells called platelets will clump at the site to try to repair the artery. This clump blocks the artery, leading to a heart attack.
There are also, as mentioned before, psychosocial factors that could cause coronary heart disease. They are depression, anxiety and all of these could lead to a major cause, which is stress. Depression and anxiety are risk factors for morbidity in those with coronary heart diseases. As mentioned earlier on, stress is, in most cases, the ultimate cause that leads to stress. Firstly, let me explain how stress having, for too long, is bad for our heart. Stress raises Blood pressure, which is not good for the human body to constantly be exposed to stress hormones. When one is stressed, hormones such as cortisol is released to bring down our stress levels. However, having high levels of stress could very well cause the levels of cortisol released to be higher than what we need. When there is excess of Cortisol, more platelets form in our coronary arteries. As I have mentioned earlier, Higher level of platelets in the artery could cause a blockage in the artery preventing blood flow, which would eventually lead to having coronary heart diseases. Ultimately, stress changes the way blood clots, leading to having coronary heart diseases.
There are also other, more psychological ways that stress could cause coronary heart diseases. Firstly, when one undergoes excessive amounts of stress, they may respond to it un unhealthy ways such as smoking, binge eating or not exercising. And as mentioned before, all these factors lead to coronary heart diseases through the blockage of the coronary arteries. Therefore, what Tandra said was true.
Tandra also suggested that Maria should visit a doctor to get help. I would also highly recommend Maria to visit a doctor to seek help as Coronary heart diseases can be very serious. There are many ways in which the doctors could help Maria. Firstly, they could suggest some medications such as beta blockers, which may be used to reduce blood pressure and heart rate, and Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which lowers blood pressure and help slow or stop the progression. Doctors would suggest taking these medications to Maria as, like mentioned before, stress leads to high blood pressure, which eventually leads to the blockage of the coronary arteries and then to coronary heart diseases. The doctors would also provide advices to change Maria’s lifestyle if she was having issues with them. They are to quit smoking, have a low LDL cholesterol diet, low sodium diet, maintain a healthy weight, reduce and mange the stress, and may even ask the patient to become vegan as to prevent having high cholesterol levels.
There have been actual cases where stress has affected someone and caused them to develop coronary heart diseases. There were 2 cases where single mothers of children were diagnosed with coronary heart disease. It was diagnosed that the single mothers went through excessive amounts of stress, being unable to cope their children, work, house chores, and taking care of themselves. The stress eventually led to both the single mothers having a heart attack. When they were in the hospital, doctors told them that they had high levels of blood pressure and heart rate issues. It was later diagnosed through both psychologists and the doctors that the single mother underwent high levels of stress that caused the High blood pressure and eventually leading to having coronary heart diseases.
In conclusion, there are many causes to Coronary Heart Diseases, and stress is high up on that list. Although, if detected early, these causes can be prevented through psychological, medical and lifestyle means. Early detection and prevention could be key in dodging a huge bullet, that is coronary heart disease.