Stress and Cardiovascular Disease

Stress and Cardiovascular Disease

The Cardiac Behavioral Medicine team specializes in helping patients and their families adjust to a diagnosis and cope with challenges throughout the course of treatment. The team's techniques include strategies that encourage behavior change, improve coping strategies, minimize stress, reduce emotional distress, help with extended hospitalizations, and prepare for an upcoming procedure or surgery.

Stress can be positive or negative, and refers to any situation that poses a challenge or threat to our well-being. Stress causes physical symptoms that slow healing and cause strain to the cardiovascular system. These include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Shrinking blood vessels

Chronic stress can lead to the development of coronary artery disease and acute stressors may trigger other cardiac conditions.

The Northwestern Medicine Cardiac Behavioral Medicine team help patients learn how to react to stressful events in a more positive way, reducing symptoms and promoting healing behaviors.

Patients with stress related to their cardiovascular disease may also experience anxiety or depression, and may benefit from changing lifestyle behaviors. We also offer guidance on recovery from a cardiac event and help with preparing for and recovering from surgery.

Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).