Thursday, March 16, 2023

How Can Stress Increase The Risk For Cardiovascular Disease

Study Limitations And Continuing Research

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The study accounted for several factors and included a diverse sample. However, researchers do acknowledge the studys limitations. Due to the nature of the 12-hour overnight urine collection, there was the possibility for errors in specimen collection.

The authors also acknowledge the possibility of sample bias and unaccounted influencing factors. For example, their analysis method did not account for the stratified analysis of cardiovascular events. The researchers also did not differentiate the causes of the developed high blood pressure.

Considering these limitations and the small sample size of the study, researchers encourage the following when it comes to continued data collection in this area:

  • continued long-term studies that look at urinary stress hormones and include larger sample sizes
  • studies that do multiple measurements of urinary stress hormone levels
  • studies that account for the causes of high blood pressure
  • more inclusion of factors that can influence a studys results

Overall, the results indicate the importance of taking psychological stress into account to create a holistic view of health and help prevent long-term complications. Professor of Medicine and cardiology specialist Dr. Glenn N. Levine told MNT:

Prof. Cheung, who was not involved in the research, felt that the study findings were interesting. However, he said, people should interpret the results with caution.

Anxiety In Cardiovascular Patients

Anxiety has shown to be prevalent in patients who havealready been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, especially if they haveexperienced a heart attack. Surviving a heart attack can be a very traumaticevent that can cause anxiety that is similar to PTSD. In some cases, anxiety isalso prevalent in patients who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular diseaseand are at risk for an acute cardiac event. This is a double-edged swordbecause fear of suffering from a stroke or heart failure could have negativeeffects on a patients heart, but could also prompt them to engage in positivehealth-seeking behaviors.

Your Bodys Response To Stress May Be:

  • A headache
  • Wreak havoc on your sleep
  • Make you feel cranky, forgetful or out of control

A stressful situation sets off a chain of events. Your body releases adrenaline, a hormone that temporarily causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. These reactions prepare you to deal with the situation the fight or flight response.

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What Behaviors Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease

Your lifestyle can increase your risk for heart disease.

  • Eating a diet high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol has been linked to heart disease and related conditions, such as atherosclerosis. Also, too much salt in the diet can raise blood pressure.
  • Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease. It can also increase the chances of having other medical conditions that are risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular physical activity can lower your risk for heart disease.
  • Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure levels and the risk for heart disease. It also increases levels of triglycerides, a fatty substance in the blood which can increase the risk for heart disease.
  • Women should have no more than 1 drink a day.
  • Men should have no more than 2 drinks a day.
  • Tobacco use increases the risk for heart disease and heart attack:
  • Cigarette smoking can damage the heart and blood vessels, which increases your risk for heart conditions such as atherosclerosis and heart attack.
  • Nicotine raises blood pressure.
  • Researchers Say Housing Instability Can Be A Serious Risk To Health And Well

    Beware women! Emotional stress can raise your heart ...

    The study revealed that not having a stable place to call home can increase consumers risk for cardiovascular disease. The researchers say that there are several factors that play into these findings, and its important to find ways to make quality housing more accessible.

    The disparities in cardiovascular health among people who are homeless and marginally housed are largely due to psychosocial stressors, unhealthy behaviors used as coping mechanisms and barriers to health care, including lack of healthcare and stigmatization among this population, said researcher Mario Sims PhD.

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    How Does Stress Affect Your Heart

    You have probably heard in the past that stress can have a negative impact on your health, but you may not fully understand the specifics of the impact long-term stress can have on your body. When you find yourself in a stressful situation, the body jumps into action, releasing the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Experiencing this stress response on occasion is natural and useful to help us avoid dangerous situations. However, this primal reaction hasnt fully evolved with our modern world where stressors more closely resemble impending work deadlines than being chased by a wild animal. As a result, many people experience stress and the associated physiological response far more often than is healthy.

    Conflict Of Interest Statement

    The Human Neurotransmitters Laboratory is currently receiving research funding from National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and from Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. It has previously received research funding from Servier Pharmaceuticals. Dr. AD has received travel honoraria from Servier and Otsuka pharmaceuticals. Prof. DB has received honoraria for presentations from Eli Lilly, Servier, Pfizer, Solway Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Lundbeck, and AstraZeneca. He has received research funding from Servier, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Otsuka, and Lundbeck.

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    Patient And Public Involvement

    No patients were involved in setting the research question or the outcome measures, nor were they involved in developing plans for design or implementation of the study. A patient was invited to contribute to the review process of the study, and we are grateful for his input on the readability and accuracy of this document. There are no plans to directly disseminate the results of the research to study participants or the relevant patient community. The dissemination to the Swedish population will be achieved through media outreach on publication of this study.

    Can Stress Cause A Heart Attack

    Healthy Heart: what you should know about stress and the impact it can have

    An expert explains how much can stress affect heart health

    Stress can trigger insomnia, exacerbate digestive problems and cause muscle tension that leads to body aches.

    But can stress cause a heart attack? Or is it just a dire, unsubstantiated warning offered by concerned family and friends along the lines of “You’ll catch pneumonia if you go outside with your hair wet”?

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    Stress And The Cardiovascular System

    With frequent episodes of stress comes frequently elevated blood sugar and blood pressure, two conditions which are well-known contributors to heart disease. Furthermore, those who are often under stress may use less than healthy coping mechanisms such as eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol and smoking.

    All of these factors add up to harm the body in a myriad of ways, not the least of which is damage to the artery walls and subsequent plaque buildup. This buildup impedes blood flow and can even lead to complete blockages. As a result, the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke are far higher than normal.

    How Can I Cope With Stress

    After you’ve identified the cause of stress in your life, the next step is to learn techniques that can help you cope with stress while fighting heart disease. There are many techniques you can use to manage stress. Some of which you can learn yourself, while other techniques may require the guidance of a trained therapist.

    Some common techniques for coping with stress include:

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    Ways To Manage Stress And Help Your Heart

    Want to turn your stress around and help your heart in the process? Try these five simple tips.

  • Stay positive. People with heart disease who maintain an upbeat attitude are less likely to die than those who are more negative, according to research. Just having a good laugh can help your heart. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

  • Meditate. This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Anyone can learn to meditate. Just take a few minutes to sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Meditation’s close relatives, yoga and prayer, can also relax the mind and body.

  • Exercise. Every time you are physically active, whether you take a walk or play tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away stress, but it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart muscle, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.

  • Unplug. It’s impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Cut the cord. Avoid emails and TV news. Take time each dayeven if it’s for just 10 or 15 minutesto escape from the world.

  • Find your own path to stress relief. Take a bubble bath, listen to music, or read a book. Any technique is effective if it works for you.

  • Stress Related Disorders And Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease: Population Based Sibling Controlled Cohort Study

    How Emotional Stress Affects the Heart
  • Huan Song, postdoctoral fellow1 2,
  • Fang Fang, associate professor2,
  • Filip K Arnberg, associate professor3 4,
  • David Mataix-Cols, professor5 6,
  • Lorena Fernández de la Cruz, assistant professor5 6,
  • Katja Fall, associate professor2 8,
  • Paul Lichtenstein, professor2,
  • Unnur A Valdimarsdóttir, professor1 2 9
  • 1Center of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 2Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3National Centre for Disaster Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 4Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 5Centre for Psychiatry Research, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 6Stockholm Health Care Services, Stockholm County Council, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 7Astrid Lindgren Childrens Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 8Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
  • 9Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
  • Correspondence to: H Song or
    • Accepted 12 March 2019

    Objective To assess the association between stress related disorders and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease.

    Design Population based, sibling controlled cohort study.

    Setting Population of Sweden.

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    What Groups Have Higher Rates Of Heart Disease From Mental Health Disorders

    Specific populations, such as the following, show higher rates of heart disease as a result of pre-existing mental health disorders:

    Veterans. Studies found that veterans are at a higher risk for heart disease, mainly due to PTSD as a result of combat.22-26

    Women. Studies exclusively focused on women found that PTSD and depression may have damaging effects on physical health, particularly with increased risk for coronary heart disease related morbidity and mortality.27,28

    Couples with someone who has PTSD. Comparative studies found that couples where one or both partners had PTSD experienced more severe conflict, greater anger, and increased cardiovascular reactivity to conflict discussions than couples where neither partner had PTSD. Anger and physiological stress responses to couple discord might contribute to CHD and heart disease risk within these relationships.29,30

    Racial and ethnic minorities. Lastly, studies focused on racial or ethnic minority groups found that depression, stress, and anxiety due to disparities in social determinants of health,31 adverse childhood experiences,32 and racism/discrimination33-35 could place certain subpopulations at a higher risk for hypertension,32,33,35,36 cardiovascular reactivity,35 heart disease,31,34 and poor heart health outcomes.37

    Increased Risk For High Blood Pressure And Cardiovascular Events

    The research carried out by scientists from the University of California in Los Angeles is a prospective cohort study that examines the association between higher levels of stress hormones and increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular events.

    The study included 412 adults ages 4887 years. Participants had no previous history of high blood pressure, which was one of the key differences between the current and previous studies. The study also involved a diverse mix of participants, including white, Black, and Hispanic individuals.

    Researchers took into account the participants sex, education level, income, and health insurance status. They also examined their lifestyle factors, including whether they drank alcohol, smoked, and did any physical activity.

    Finally, researchers looked at the health status of the participants, including whether they had diabetes, their use of any medications, body mass index, and kidney function.

    This study was part of a larger study called the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis . At the start of the study, the researchers asked a subset of participants from the larger study with no diagnosed cardiovascular disease to participate in a 12-hour overnight urine collection. The researchers analyzed the urine for levels of epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and cortisol.

    The researchers included participants who had no hypertension at baseline and had complete data and specific covariates in further data analysis.

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    Prevention: What Else Can You Do

    Without a urine test, it can be difficult to gauge what our cortisol levels are, said Levine, suggesting that there are ways we can learn to self-reflect on whether we may have some negative psychological factors, particularly things like stress.

    If we do recognize that we tend to be frequently stressed, frustrated or angered, then its helpful to ponder what exactly are the things that lead us to become stressed, he added.

    Once we do that, we can really thoughtfully sit down and decide, is it worthwhile to allow these things to lead me to become stressed or frustrated?

    Understanding our triggers can allow you to avoid these adverse automatic immune responses before they affect the circulatory system, Ackrill said.

    The mechanism of stress is that we get worked up over something so our sympathetic nervous system revs everything up. We need our heart pumping fast to keep our blood pressure up so that weve got good circulation and we can get away from the danger, Ackrill explained.

    Intervening earlier, such as when your stress response is about to happen, with deep breathing exercises or other relaxation response can help, she said, allowing your executive brain to react and give you options on how to handle a stressful situation.

    We want to pause, ponder and digest this, and take a couple seconds to decide what is the most skillful way to react.

    Read more:

    Stress Management Is Essential

    Too much standing can increase risk of heart disease, study finds

    This was a massive study, tracking over 110,000 people for about a decade. All in all, the data tells a compelling story: The more stressed you are on a day-to-day basis, the higher your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.

    Adults who reported dealing with high levels of stress regularly were found to be 22% more likely to develop a form of cardiovascular disease, 24% more at risk of a heart attack, and a full 30% more likely to suffer a stroke.

    Life is inherently stressful. While avoiding stress entirely is a fool’s errand, this work should motivate all of us to prioritize stress management. It may not be easy, and will likely require a period of trial and error, but find a way to de-stress that works for you. It will be just as advantageous for your heart as a nice long jog or ordering a salad in lieu of a cheeseburger.

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    Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors Faqs

    Q: What are heart disease risk factors?A: Risk factors for heart disease and other cardiovascular disease include:

    • Smoking
    • High LDL or low HDL cholesterol levels
    • Family history of heart disease or other cardiovascular disease
    • Age
    • Ethnicity

    Q: Can stress cause heart disease?A: The link between stress and cardiovascular disease is not well understood. However, it is known that stress can influence many of the well-established risk factors for CVD, including high blood pressure, smoking, lack of exercise, eating an unhealthy diet and drinking large amounts of alcohol. In addition, it is thought that stress in the form of job strain and long working hours may somewhat increase a personâs risk of cardiovascular disease.

    Q: Where can I do a CVD risk factor assessment or screening?A: While various cardiovascular disease risk factor calculators and assessment tools exist online, the only way to obtain an accurate understanding of a particular personâs risk is by seeing a licensed doctor.

    Q: How can I reduce heart disease risk factors?A: General recommendations include eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise as part of a balanced lifestyle, as well as avoiding tobacco products and limiting alcohol intake. Furthermore, managing obesity as well as conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, with the help of a doctor, is important.

    How Anxiety Symptoms Can Affect The Heart

    However, research suggests certain symptoms that come withchronic anxiety could have a lasting, negative impact on the cardiovascularsystem by putting extra strain on the heart. Some symptoms of anxiety, likechest pain, even mimic those of cardiovascular disease. Other symptoms include:

    • Rapidheart rate Frequent tachycardia, or rapid heart rate, can interfere withnormal heart function and overtime increase the risk of heart attack,especially in patients with cardiovascular disease.
    • Increasedblood pressure Stress and anxietycause cortisol levels to spike which increases blood pressure and heartrate. Frequent spikes in blood pressure weaken the heart muscle and couldeventually lead to coronary disease.
    • Sleepproblems Sleep helps to lower yourblood pressure when you are sleeping. When anxiety starts to negatively affectyour sleeping patterns, it could have a detrimental effecton your blood pressure and heart health.

    People with anxiety often respond to stressors in ways that canbe detrimental to heart health. Self-medicating by smoking, drinking alcohol, or overeating, are allknown risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Forms of anxiety disorder, suchas social anxiety disorder, can also lead to social isolation and loneliness.Many studies have linked both social isolation and lonelinessto poorhealth outcomes and increased risk of heart disease.

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