If your heart races or skips a beat when you are nervous or have enjoyed a few too many cups of coffee or cans of cola, you know what it feels like to have your heart affected by stress. But stress can do much more to inhibit the activity of your entire cardiovascular system.
Some scientists believe stress contributes to hypertension (high blood pressure), and, for decades, people have advised the nervous, anxious, irritable, or pessimistic among them that they'll work themselves into a heart attack. In fact, people who are more likely to see events as stressful do seem to have an increased rate of heart disease.
Stress can also contribute to bad health habits that in turn can contribute to heart disease. A high-fat, high-sugar, low-fiber diet (the fast-food, junk-food syndrome) contributes to fat in the blood and, eventually, a clogged, heart-attack-prone heart. Coupled with lack of exercise, the risk factors for heart disease increase. All because you were too stressed out to eat a salad and go for that walk (day after day after day)!
Polluting your body with too much saturated fat and highly processed, low-fiber food has a direct effect on health. Just as a polluted river soon cleans itself when the pollution stops, so will your coronary arteries begin to clear out if the body is freed from having to process foods that are damaging to good health.