How Does Stress Affect My Risk Of Developing An Abnormal Heart Rhythm?

Question: How does stress affect my risk of developing an abnormal heart rhythm?

Answer :The association between stress and heart rhythm problems, or heart disease, has been known since ancient times, when it was observed that some people, after an episode of stress, would collapse or faint. When we experience stress, our levels of adrenaline go up. Adrenaline makes the heart beat faster and makes the heart more irritable or prone to irregular heart rhythm problems.

An increased level of heart rhythm abnormalities has been seen after major catastrophes such as the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster. In that situation, people with implantable defibrillators were noted to have more frequent episodes of heart rhythm abnormalities. One of the best ways of treating stress is a regular exercise program. When we exercise on a regular basis, our heart rates tend to become slower and we are better able to accommodate stress.