Although the term “stress” is in general use, there has never been any agreement as to what it actually means. Factors that may lead to feelings of stress include:

  • Depression, anxiety, panic disorder.
  • Social isolation and lack of social support.
  • Life events such as bereavement.
  • Work-related “stressors”.
  • Anger and hostility.


How you manage stress is important. It may lead to behaviours that are proven to increase heart disease risk such as smoking, physical inactivity and overeating.


After a heart attack, people who feel overwhelmed by stress should talk to their doctor or other health professionals. Medication usually doesn’t help stress. Some ways to manage stress include:

  • Regular exercise.
  • Maintaining a positive attitude.
  • Not smoking.
  • Reducing caffeine intake.
  • Healthy diet.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.






  1. National Heart Foundation of Australia 2003, “Stress” and coronary heart disease: Psychosocial factors, viewed 21 May 2013,
  2. Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland 2013, Reduce stress , viewed 21 May 2013,
  3. American Heart Foundation 2013, Stress management, viewed 21 May 2013,