Y a-t-il un lien entre stress et maladies cardiovasculaires ?

Is there a link between stress and cardiovascular disease?

Feb 05, 2024

It is now indisputable that stress has a significant influence on health, both physically and mentally. Its harmful effects are well documented, ranging from increasing the risk of anxiety and depressive disorders to weakening the immune system. However, beyond these already worrying consequences, a question often remains underestimated: what is the impact of stress on cardiovascular health?

Why should we be wary of stress?

Stress , in its various forms, poses a major health challenge, with notable implications for physical and mental well-being. Indeed, it is now established that chronic stress can be the cause of various conditions such as depression, burn-out and even alcoholism. However, what is sometimes overlooked is its direct link to cardiovascular disease .

In the long term, chronic stress can promote the development of many cardiovascular diseases and worsen their progression . By stimulating the production of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, it weakens the immune system, making organs, including the heart, more vulnerable. In addition, acute stress, although manifesting temporarily, can also have serious consequences by directly influencing cardiac functioning.

Interestingly, women are particularly vulnerable to stress due to certain physiological factors. Their greater number of receptors for stress hormones, notably catecholamines, as well as the thinness of their coronary arteries, make them more susceptible to arterial spasms triggered by stress, thus increasing their risk of cardiac events. As a result, chronic stress ranks among the main cardiovascular risk factors in women, rivaling smoking in terms of prevalence and dangerousness.

What are the health consequences?

Stress can have devastating impacts on cardiovascular health, contributing to several potentially serious conditions.

High blood pressure

First of all, high blood pressure is one of the main consequences of stress. Chronic stress can accelerate the heart rate and thus increase blood pressure. This constant pressure can damage the walls of the arteries, making them stiffer and thicker. In addition, the weakening of arterial walls under the effect of blood pressure can lead to hemorrhage, thus increasing the risk of hemorrhagic strokes (stroke). Although stress is not always the direct cause of high blood pressure, it can nevertheless aggravate or promote it.

Heart attack and pulmonary embolism

Stress is also associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction . Physiological responses to stress, such as increased cholesterol levels and increased blood clotting, can increase the likelihood of clots forming in the coronary arteries, leading to a heart attack. In some people, severe acute stress can increase the risk of heart attack by 15 times.

Because blood tends to clot more easily under acute stress, blood clots can form in the arteries or lungs. This phenomenon can then lead to a pulmonary embolism.

Cardiac arrest

The impact of stress on the heart can also lead to serious complications such as cardiac arrest. In situations of acute stress, the heart's blood requirements increase, while supplies decrease and the risk of clot formation increases, which can lead to impaired cardiac perfusion and cardiac arrest.


Angina, also called angina, is chest pain resulting from a temporary decrease in blood supply to the heart muscle. Acute stress can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which increases the oxygen demand of the heart muscle. If the coronary arteries are partially blocked due to atherosclerosis, this increased oxygen demand can trigger angina symptoms.

Additionally, acute stress can cause constriction of blood vessels, including the coronary arteries, which can worsen reduced blood flow to the heart and thus increase the risk of angina symptoms.

Heart rhythm disorders

Finally, acute stress can lead to an increase in heart rate, increasing the risk of heart rhythm disorders such as tachycardia. At the same time, certain behaviors adopted in situations of stress, such as excessive consumption of alcohol, caffeine, drugs or tobacco, can also contribute to these heart rhythm disorders.

A problem to take seriously

Stress represents a serious health problem that should not be underestimated, especially given its established link with cardiovascular disease. It is crucial to recognize its harmful impact and adopt effective preventive measures . To do this, various solutions are available.

First of all, it is essential to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits , such as regular exercise https://naturveda.fr/blogs/actus-sante/comment-le-sport-peut-aider-a-soulager -stress, reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption, maintaining a good sleep rhythm and a balanced diet. These classic approaches help reduce stress and protect cardiovascular health.

At the same time, learning to manage stress is fundamental. Techniques such as relaxation or cardiac coherence . may be effective in regulating physiological responses to stress. If necessary, psychological support can also be beneficial to develop stress management strategies adapted to each individual.

Finally, it is worth considering that certain herbal dietary supplements have been shown to significantly reduce stress and anxiety. These natural solutions can be a valuable addition to an overall plan for managing stress and protecting cardiovascular health.

In short, it is undeniable that stress exerts a significant influence on cardiovascular health, with chronic stress notably constituting a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Stress is therefore not just a matter of comfort of life, but rather a serious concern for overall health. To counter these harmful effects, it is essential to adopt healthy lifestyle habits, learn to manage stress and consider natural solutions such as plant-based food supplements.

References :

French Federation of Cardiology. (September 9, 2016). Consequences of stress on health.

French Federation of Cardiology. Heart and stress – combat stress to reduce cardiovascular risk.

Geneva University Hospitals. (Updated December 11, 2019).Stroke – risk factors.

Acting for Women's Hearts, Women's Cardiovascular Healthcare Foundation. Stress, a time bomb.

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