Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter, is chief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

Tags: work | stress | heart | attack | Chauncey Crandall

My Work-Stress Wake-Up Call

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 10:01 AM

As a cardiologist, I’ve always been aware of the effect that stress can have on the heart — in theory.

I know that when we’re in stressful situations, our bodies pump out hormones such as cortisol, catecholamines, and epinephrine. These hormones increase heart rate, raise blood pressure, and speed up metabolism. But even I didn’t really understand how dangerous it was until I ended up in the emergency room with a heart blockage myself.

I underwent an angioplasty and stent insertion. The procedure went fine, but I was shaken.

I reviewed risk factors in my mind, wondering how I had ended up in my own emergency room. My blood pressure was fine; I didn’t have diabetes or high cholesterol. There was some heart disease in my family, but I really couldn’t think of anything else that might account for what had happened to me.

What I hadn't considered was stress. Before my own heart problem, I’d never thought of my job as stressful. I knew that other people had job stress, but I loved my work. When an emergency call came in, I rushed from the house to the hospital to get into the action. But I didn’t feel like I was stressed out — I felt energized. That couldn’t be stress, could it?

Yes, much to my chagrin, I realized that it was, even though I thought I thrived on responding to emergencies. This coupled with travel and missing my family while I was away had certainly contributed to, if not actually caused, my heart disease. I didn’t want to give up my career, of course, but I knew there were changes I could make.

First, I resolved to take much better care of myself. I revamped my diet and started walking one hour a day. I reduced my business travel, and I also rededicated myself to my work with the church.

Praying daily, going to church each week, and being an active part of my religious community gives me comfort and anchors my life — and, ultimately, reduces my stress.

© HealthDay

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Cardiologist Chauncey Crandall learned the hard way that work stress can damage the heart when he got a wake-up call from his own body.
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Wednesday, 01 February 2012 10:01 AM
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