How Much Stress Is Too Much for Your Heart

Stress, a significant daily presence for many people in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, can have a dramatic impact on the heart if it isn’t properly managed. While a healthy heart rate sits at approximately 60-100 beats per minute, feelings of stress make the heart beat faster, increasing the likelihood of atrial fibrillation, heart failure or a heart attack. So how much stress is normal and when does it become too much for your heart? Dr. Thomas Wallace, a cardiologist with the CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute, shares some warning signs to note.

“If your resting heart rate is just elevated more than normal, that can be a sign,” said Dr. Wallace. “Other signs can be the sensation of feeling flushed, chest pressure, chest heaviness or shortness of breath when you really shouldn’t be feeling shortness of breath.”

Consistent sleep, daily exercise, avoiding excess caffeine and meditation are just a few of the steps you can take to reduce the stress in your life and take control of your heart health. To learn more about the impact of stress on the heart, as well as the wide range of services provided by the team of cardiologists and heart surgeons at the CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute, visit