Work Stress and Cardiovascular Disease

cardiogram Blood Pressure, Cardiogram, Coronary Artery Disease, Healthy Habits, Heart Health, Heart IQ, Hypertension, Medical Conditions, Stress

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death of American adults. Although much attention is given to the importance of diet, exercise, smoking cessation and the role of genetics, a lesser focus has been given to the role of stress reduction in the prevention and treatment of heart disease.  

A large number of studies have demonstrated a clear link between life stress and occurrence of cardiac events, like heart attacks. Work stress has been studied a lot, and appears to be one of the greatest risk factors in stress-related cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, these associations between work stress and cardiovascular disease are similar amongst all workers, regardless of age, sex, and socioeconomic background. 

Individuals who perceive higher levels of stress in their lives show a greater risk of experiencing a heart attack, and some studies have linked fewer cardiac events on Saturday and a greater risk on Mondays, potentially reflecting the stress associated with a traditional work schedule.

In a recent meta-analysis, decreased social relationships were linked with a 29% increase risk of incident coronary heart disease, and 32% increased risk of stroke. Interestingly, when researchers control to take out any confounding or interfering factors (like diet, exercise, and cigarette smoking), loneliness continues to be a powerful predictor of heart disease on its own. 

Scores of well-designed studies routinely show that chronic stress can impair your ability to learn and adapt to new situations, and subtly erode your cognition. More specifically, stress destroys cells in the hippocampus, the brain site responsible for memory storage and retrieval. So, by reducing stress, you not only help preserve cells vital to memory but you also improve focus, concentration and productivity.

The good news is you don’t have to let toxic stress get in the way of keeping sharp. Take breaks during the day to engage in an activity that’s peaceful, meditative and stress-reducing. It can be as easy as walking in nature, journal writing, spending time with a pet, or even daydreaming.

A simple meditation routine you can practice:

  • Close your eyes.
  • Pay close attention to your breath.
  • Picture your worries in clear bubbles directly in front of you and imagine them floating weightlessly up and away.

Find what works for you and make it a part of your day – every day!

soap bubbles

Heart IQ Features to Use

Tagging Symptoms

Tagging symptoms on your heart rate graph can help narrow in on the potential cause. (Remember, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can present with shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting spells, chest pain, palpitations, and angina.) Being specific in your journal regarding what you were doing at that time & how you were feeling can further help pinpoint potential causes for your symptoms. 

Tracking Symptoms

Whenever you experience recurring symptoms, be sure to hit the “add symptoms” button on your Cardiogram app. This will help you to keep track of your symptoms, and allow your doctor to gauge the frequency and severity of your condition for a more accurate diagnosis. Remember, you can always add your own custom symptoms if you experience symptoms not listed.   


By taking notes when symptoms arise, you and your doctor will be at an advantage, able to connect otherwise seemingly unrelated circumstances. Because of this, in addition to the tagging in your heart rate graph, noting what you were doing and how you were feeling at the time of the symptom in your journal is very helpful. 

Enroll in a habit

Because engaging in regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and managing stress levels all help improve the symptoms and progression of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, enrolling in a habit is a sure way to commit to a more heart-healthy lifestyle. You can choose from daily exercise routines, stress relieving habits, and good sleep hygiene techniques. When you’re enrolled in a habit, we will also show you its clinical benefits, along with studies to back them up. Just be sure you've spoken with a doctor before engaging in vigorous activity if you regularly experience discomfort when exercising.   

Join our facebook community

With Cardiogram Premium, you can download PDFs of your data to bring to your next doctor's visit. Keeping track of symptoms and the effects they have on your heart can help support the process of receiving an accurate diagnosis. This is why it’s important to make sure you’re tagging, journaling, and keeping track of your symptoms on your Cardiogram app.

Share data with your doctor

If you have questions or concerns, it's important that you first seek help and advice from your doctor. However, our Cardiogram Communityon Facebook is another great resource, filled with other members who share similar experiences and enjoy helping others in the community. Our FB community moderator also has a healthcare background, and is ready to use their clinical knowledge to answer questions you may have regarding your data. 


Cardiogram app shown on phone and smart watch


Cardiogram app shown on phone and smart watch