Women fighting stress at workplace 40% more prone to heart diseases: Harvard University study

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Women fighting stress at workplace 40% more prone to heart diseases

Women with highly stressful work lives are 40% more prone to heart diseases than those who are less stressed-out, according to a Harvard University study.

The study, which analysed the work lives of 17,000 female medical professionals, observed that the women who live with the fear of expulsion from their jobs are more prone to high cholesterol levels, hypertension and obesity, according to a report in The New Indian Express.

The human body is built in a way that naturally responds to life-threatening situations. The brain sets off a cascade of hormones and chemicals that speeds up heart rate and breathing, elevates blood pressure and boosts the glycogen supply to the muscles. However, the body is not very good at differentiating between imminent dangers and less pronounced instances of ongoing stress related to problems in the office, financial difficulties, or anxiety about adversities that haven’t occurred yet.

Stress triggers inflammation, which causes the narrowing of coronary arteries, thereby increasing the possibilities of a heart attack. Constant stress also makes it difficult to maintain healthy habits, like following a good diet, getting sufficient exercise, abstaining from smoking, and getting enough sleep.

Juggling concurrent jobs like caring for aging parents and children and taking greater pains in running the household, taking care of the office at the same time, is also a source of stress for working women.

The best tool to combat stress that can be adopted easily in our day-to-day lives is yoga. It synchronises our body and mind and is a powerful means to relax the mind. Yoga can help to prevent spasms in blood vessels by controlling stress and bringing down blood pressure.

Various yogic kriyas and asanas help to remove toxins and acidic substances from the blood. They improve blood circulation, strengthen the cardiovascular system, reduce depression and anxiety, and improve the quality of sleep.

Deep breathing exercises, meditation, walking and cycling, and indulging in relaxing hobbies such as gardening or painting also go a long way in reducing daily stress.

Last but not the least, a diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lentils, natural sugars as well as herbs like kava root, lemon balm, lavender, and chamomile can help to relieve anxiety, sleeplessness, restlessness, and other stress-related symptoms. Similarly, cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, ginger, basil, and black seed provide vital support for the body to fight inflammation and oxidative stress.

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