The stresses of life have long been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or a serious coronary or cerebral event, however it is not universally agreed which stress this is.
In Australia, an expert group concluded there is a strong and consistent link between depression, social isolation and lack of quality social support and heart disease. In fact, these factors were as risky to heart health as abnormal blood lipid levels, smoking and high blood pressure.
While the same group did not find a link between heart disease and chronic life events – such as job stress, Type A behavior patterns, hostility, anxiety disorders or panic disorders – other researchers have found a strong link between anxiety and heart disease.
One study found a linear progression between self-reported psychological stress and damage to the carotid artery. The extensive Whitehall Study in the UK among government employees found that those with the least control over their work had the highest rates of heart disease. Research is continuing in this area to define more clearly which kinds of stress are more likely to trigger cardiovascular disease.
Whatever the outcome may be, we already know that different types of stress tend to cluster together. When they do, the resultant risk for cardiac events is often substantially elevated.
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For more information on heart health and stress, visit http://www.world-heart-federation.org/
Source: World Heart Federation