Answers to Common Questions


Learn how stress can have a negative effect on our health, and ways to reduce stress and find relaxation.

  • Why is sleep important?
  • Sleep is a critical part of our health and well-being. Sleep helps promote good physical and mental health, and not getting enough sleep can increase risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. If you have trouble sleeping, it’s important to talk with your doctor about steps to improve your sleep patterns.
  • How can adults improve their optimism?
  • Although research is needed to determine effective interventions to promote optimism, addressing mental health may be just as important as addressing physical health. By taking steps to reduce stress and improve ones outlook on life, risk for heart disease and stroke can be decreased.
  • What are the most common heart attack symptoms in women?
  • The most common symptoms of heart attack in women include discomfort or pressure in the chest; pain in the arms, upper back, neck, jaw or stomach; nausea or vomiting; trouble breathing; breaking out in a cold sweat; dizziness or lightheadedness; inability to sleep; unusual fatigue and clammy skin. However, women may experience all, none, many or just a few of these heart attack symptoms.
  • What if I have tried to learn more about my health but still have trouble understanding?
  • Patients who have trouble understanding their health conditions should ask for help from their health care team, whether it's a doctor, nurse or counselor. Health care providers can help point patients to a variety of resources that can cater to individual needs.
  • How can I help improve life satisfaction?

  • Based on study findings, it is important to address satisfaction in career, family, sex life and one’s self-confidence. Although research is needed regarding effective methods to improve life satisfaction, try to make small changes to improve areas in your life that you feel least satisfied in.
  • Why might hostility increase risk for heart disease?

  • Although the exact cause of this relationship is unknown, researchers suggest that hostility may increase blood pressure, which puts strain on the heart and can increase cardiovascular risk. It is also possible that the type of people who often become hostile are less likely to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle and/or decrease any risk factors they may have.
  • Is 6-8 hours of sleep right for everyone?

  • Getting 6–8 hours of sleep each night is a useful guide for most adults, but may not be right for everyone. Some may feel tired with any less than 9 hours of sleep, while others may feel well rested with 6. It is most important to listen to what your body tells you and get the sleep you need to feel well rested and energized in the morning.
  • Other than being optimistic, how can adults decrease risk for stroke?

  • Adults can reduce risk for stroke by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a heart healthy diet and staying physically active. Any additional risk factors, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, should be properly addressed and controlled through lifestyle changes and working with your healthcare provider.
  • How can I help reduce stress levels?

  • There are many methods for reducing stress, including exercise, meditation and deep breathing. Stress can affect adults in different ways, so it is important to try different stress reduction approaches in order to find one that works best for you.

  • How much sleep is recommended each night for adults?

  • Although there is no magic number that is right for everyone, most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep each night. However, everyone is different. Some adults may need 7 hours of sleep each night to feel alert the next day, while others may require 9 hours to feel well-rested and awake.
  • How does stress affect blood pressure?
  • When the body encounters stress, heart rate increases and blood vessels narrow, causing a temporary rise in blood pressure. When stress becomes a chronic condition, it can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) — a risk factor for stroke, heart attack and heart disease.
  • How can I improve my sleeping habits?

  • Some good sleeping habits include sticking to one sleep schedule, creating a bedtime ritual, limiting daytime naps, managing stress and increasing physical activity. Together, these changes can help improve sleep. If not, patients should contact their doctor for further options.