I learned that my next door neighbor and friend, R., died a few days ago in Japan. Her husband, N., was receiving his third bone marrow transplant there. She’s been THE CAREGIVER, taking care of her husband, also a great guy, her first grade daughter and seventeen-year-old son who go to school here in Irvine, CA. R. had high blood pressure but was under great stress, and she died of a stroke at 48 years old. Medical researchers aren’t sure exactly how stress increases the risk of heart disease. Stress makes high blood pressure worse. If you are under stress, your blood pressure goes up. R. didn’t feel she had time to exercise and didn’t think much about what she ate. Chronic stress exposes your body to unhealthy, persistently elevated levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
What Are the Warning Signs of Stress?
When you are exposed to long periods of stress, your body gives warning signs that something is wrong. These physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral signs of stress should not be ignored. They tell you that you need to slow down. If you continue to be stressed and you don’t give your body a break, you are likely to develop health problems. You could also worsen an existing illness.
I am missing my dear friend and wish I had talked with her more about feeling stressful over her husband’s long illness.