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Stress and the heart

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Explain:
1. Which factors contributed to an increase in HR, and
2. Which factors contributed to a decrease in HR

Answer the following:
1. What is the risk of stress on the heart?
2. What are the contributions of the nervous system to the increased workload that the heart experiences when an individual is stressed?
3. Do some additional research to define "myocardial infarction risk." What do Gasperin et al. (2009) say about the relationship between stress and myocardial infarction risk?
4. Define "hypertension." Summarize the results reported by Gasperin et al. (2009) about stress and hypertension. What was successful in lowering hypertension?

Reference:
Effect of psychological stress on blood pressure increase: a meta-analysis of cohort studies. Gasperin, D et al. 2009. Cad. Saúde Pública, Rio de Janeiro, 25(4):715-726

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Solution Preview

Factors that contributed to an increase in HR are stressful situations, such as tension in relationships within the family or at work, and deadlines for projects that are due. During stress, the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol in our blood streams increase our HR. Conversely, when these factors are eliminated, such as when the stressful situation passes, our HR decreases. Sleep, exercise, a good support system, and speaking your mind at work or at home can reduce stress, and hence reduce your HR. Blood pressure, hypertension, and the heart are related. Stress can lead to high blood pressure or hypertension, which is in turn related to complications involving the heart.

When an individual is stressed, the heart works harder. If the heart experiences an increased workload for a long period of time, vascular remodeling could result, which would then lead to the development of hypertension. These alterations in the body could lead to long-term regulation of blood pressure by the kidneys. This, in turn, causes the blood pressure set point to be increased to a higher level. In ...

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