We know that a little stress can be good for you, but when you're constantly feeling under pressure—overwhelmed, anxious, totally frazzled—the effects can actually add up to something dangerous. As if a clear, peaceful mind wasn't incentive enough to de-stress, we rounded up some of the scariest ways stress can wreak havoc on our bodies—from fueling cancer to raising the risk of heart attacks.
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It Does a Number on Your Heart
Feeling anxious and stressed is linked with a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack—the same effect smoking five cigarettes a day has on the heart, the New York Daily News reported.
"These findings are significant because they are applicable to nearly everyone," study researcher Safiya Richardson, of Columbia University Medical Center, told the Daily News. "The key takeaway is that how people feel is important for their heart health, so anything they can do to reduce stress may improve their heart health in the future."
And not only could chronic stress raise a person's heart attack risk, but it might also affect how well he or she survives after a heart attack. Reuters reported on another study, conducted by researchers at St. Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, that showed that stress is linked with a 42 percent higher risk of dying in the two years after being hospitalized for a heart attack.