How Does 'Stress' And 'Frustration' Differ, And What Kind Of 'Stress' Is Bad For My Heart?

Question: What is the difference between 'stress' and 'frustration,' and what kind of 'stress' is bad for my heart?

Answer: Stress is when bad things happen to you -- whether it's a stressful life event, like somebody dying, in the extreme, or a situation at work, where you're not getting the reward you feel you deserve, or the demands of your job are too high and you don't have much control over how you meet those demands, lack of social support in your family and circle of friends. These are all things that happen to you that make you have a reaction, like frustration.

Frustration, anger, sadness, anxiety -- these psychological responses to stress are accompanied by biological changes inside your body -- adrenaline, stress hormones. Also, people who are under stress, and feeling frustrated or depressed or anxious or angry, are more likely to engage in coping behaviors to help reduce the distress they feel. But sometimes these coping behaviors, like smoking, eating too much, drinking too much, can be bad for your heart.

So, between them, the biological responses to stress, and the behavioral responses, lead to -- in healthy people, the development of heart disease -- and in people who already have heart disease, they can make your heart disease worse, and make you more likely to have another heart attack or even die from it.

Next: How Does Stress Affect Heart Conditions?

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