2020 has been an incredibly stressful year for most people. With the ongoing global pandemic, it’s not likely to let up any time soon. So how does chronic stress impact your body? Stress hormones are released by your brain through the hypothalamus which also triggers your body’s “fight or flight” response. When this happens, your heart starts to race, your breath comes fast and your muscles prepare for action.
Fight or Flight
Your body’s fight or flight response is how it protects itself during an emergency so you can react immediately. Picture your heartbeat revving up and sending blood to the areas of your body that need it in an emergency – your muscles, heart, and other vital organs. Normally, when a threat is over, the brain’s hypothalamus tells your body to return to normal. Should this fail to happen, or the cause of the stress lingers, your fight or flight response just keeps going. Over time, these elevated stress levels can damage your respiratory and cardiovascular systems from stress hormones.
When you are stressed your breathing runs faster to get life-saving oxygen pumped through your blood supply into your vital organs. As your heart beats faster from the stress hormones, your blood vessels will constrict and deliver more oxygen to the muscles, raising your blood pressure and making your heart work harder for too long. High blood pressure can lead to stroke or heart attack.
Dr. John Abroon, MD and our team offer tests to evaluate and address your heart health and heart issues as quickly as possible. To look at the function of your heart, Dr. Abroon may ask you to take a stress echo (stress echocardiogram) which checks your size, resting rate, function, and structure of the heart and usually only takes about an hour to perform.
-You will change into a medical gown (or towel) for the exam.
-A get is placed onto your chest where you will lie down on an exam table.
-A transducer will be used to capture images of your heart.
-You will be asked to hold your breath so good quality images can be captured.
If needed you may also have a stress test to check out your heart health and function.
This test will help Dr. Abroon to check out your heart and valves, figure out how your heart reacts to physical movement, measure your likelihood of getting coronary heart disease and evaluate your current cardiac treatment plan.
You will wear electrodes on your chest while you exercise (on a treadmill or stationary cycle) while we monitor your heart. Starting out walking slowly, you will keep walking faster until you reach maximum stress levels. While you can stop moving if it feels too much, the goal is to reach maximum stress levels. Then you will lie down on your left hip with your left arm raised behind your head and hold your breath so a transducer will capture images of your heart.
Dr. John Abroon and our team are here to help you navigate the stress of your life as safely as possible. Protecting your heart is just one of the ways we help you stay healthy! If you are experiencing health issues or want to be tested, please reach out to our team to consult with Dr. Abroon. Call (212) 288-0900 today to schedule a visit with our office in New York, NY.