Many events, both good and bad, occur during one’s life. Stress is the body’s response to real or perceived threats. Stress can cause the heart rate to increase, the heart to pump harder, raise blood sugar levels.

Continual or frequent stress places more demand on the heart and increases the risk of developing plaque (atherosclerosis). Stress can also lead some people to make unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating high fat “comfort” foods, or “vegging out” in front of the television.

If you feel you are having trouble handling the stress in your life, speak with your social worker, psychologist, or other member of your health care team. These professionals may be able to help you find ways to better cope with your stress.