The human brain is a complex machine responsible for everything that goes on in your body and it has a very special relationship with the heart. Throughout time, expressions like, “heartache,” “broken heart,” or “my heart bleeds for you,” has demonstrated a strong link between the brain, emotions and the heart.
The hypothalamus is the area within the brain that controls involuntary actions of the human body such as temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and the release of hormones and other chemical reactions, to name a few.
“When we get scared our bodies release chemicals like adrenaline which causes our heart rate to increase and our heart to contract harder in order to provide the muscles with more oxygen,” said Westchester Medical Center Cardiologist Dr. Alan Gass. The pupils will dilate, blood pressure and respiratory rates will increase and the veins in the skin will contract (goose bumps often associate with fear). “This reaction is referred to as the fight or flight response. Basically, your brain is preparing your body to either stand and fight or turn and run away.”
“These reactions are good and it is how a healthy heart should respond. The response, although smaller is similar to the effect a good workout has on your cardiovascular system. Your body will release adrenaline to the muscles allowing them to respond forcefully, while your breathing and heart rate will increases to pump more blood throughout your body,” adds Dr. Gass.
So, in short, for a healthy person, being scared is not bad for your heart because it gives the heart muscle and the entire cardiovascular system a little unplanned workout. For more information about heart health visit: www.westchestermedicalcenter.com .