Registered charity in England No 1144451
Meetings held at the Laindon Center Click for map
Basildon & District Heart Support Group
A self-help group that helps patients and carers face the future
Affiliated to the British Heart Foundation
Copyright © Basildon & District Heart Support Group
The Normal Stress Mechanism

1. The pituitary gland releases a hormone, which triggers a release of Adrenaline.
2. The presence of Adrenaline causes increases in heart rate and blood pressure, blood vessels in the body are dilated. (This reaction can lead to flushing)
3. The lungs are stimulated leading to faster shallower breathing.
4. Sugars are released into the bloodstream to provide rapid energy
5. Blood is directed away from the gut to the muscles {This can lead to indigestion)
6. Blood is also diverted from the skin and sweating is increased
7. There is now a lot of blood in the muscles, which become tense and ready for action.
When we have run the race or removed ourselves from the danger, everything slows down. Muscles relax, breathing deepens and our heart rate and blood pressure return too normal. This is all fine and normal, but things go wrong when we experience different kinds of stress. Although the body can function when stressed, it cannot tell the difference between being attacked, stressing in a
traffic jam or watching a scary movie

If you need to run a race the adrenaline released is of great benefit, if however, you sit and fume in a traffic `jam the same stress reaction releases Adrenaline that is not required and acts on the body in a different way.

Heart and Circulation; The heart is overworked and beats irregularly and too quickly. The blood pressure remains high, and the body retains sodium, which leads to fluid retention. The blood becomes stickier and more likely to clot.
Lungs; Breathing becomes faster and shallower.
Gut: The stomach produces more acid, but digestion cannot resume, so excess acid irritates the stomach wall.
Muscles; Tension continues to increase.

Clearly if this situation continues then serious illness could follow. If you are the sort of person who frequently experiences emotions such as anxiety, anger, fear or irritation, the body can be on continuous
"Stress alert". This leads to a person being constantly ready for action even when action is not required. It is possible to become hooked on this state of readiness the press has labelled this behaviour "Adrenaline junky". These are people who seek out
situations that induce a stress response. Different types of adrenaline cause different reactions men have higher levels of the anger type; women have more of the anxiety/fear type.

From Information Leaflet given to Phase 3 Patients during Rehab at Basildon CTC

More information on Stress can be obtained by downloading the booklet from the BHF website Use this link BHF Stress Info
Ways to Combat Stress

Understand the mechanism of stress Learn to recognise your own stressful situations and body responses.
Anticipate stressful periods and plan for them.
Be honest about what you can really cope with.
Learn to say NO
Learn to be assertive about what you think/feel.
Learn to delegate tasks.
Be realistic about what you can achieve
Manage your time more effectively
Develop a positive attitude.
Set goals - Use lists.
Ask for help when you need it. Be prepared to accept help when it is offered.
Allow plenty of time - Don't hurry things.
Learn to do one thing at a time.
Remember you don't always have to cope.
Eat a well balanced diet.
Get adequate amounts of sleep.
Undertake physical exercise.
Socialise with friends.
Avoid reaching boiling point - Diffuse anger early.
Learn to express your feelings
Develop a support network.
Take time to relax.
Enjoy time alone.
Treat yourself occasionally
Remember the importance of touch.
Like yourself. Because you're special and unique.