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Heart patients are coming in younger, partly because of stress

Half of Carilion patients are between 30-50 years old

ROANOKE, Va. – Heart health is about more than just nutrition and exercise, stress management is also really important.

Carilion Cardiopulmonary Rehab Manager Sybil Calhoun says younger people are coming in with heart problems and it's partly because of stress.

Stress increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which is bad for the heart.

Calhoun says about half their patients are between 30 and 50 years old, where they used to be all 65 or over.

She says most people miss the signs of stress.

"A lot of people will have frequent headaches or trouble sleeping, anxiety and they're thinking it's coming from something else and it's coming from stress," said Calhoun.

She says you need to find healthy ways of coping with stress:

  • Take the time to do something you love.
  • Say no.  Set limits for yourself so you're not over committed.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise.

She says if you can't change the stress learn to avoid it, alter it or just accept it.

Calhoun says one stressful event is okay but living with stress day after day is not good for your heart.


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