Stress less, or risk heart attack

by Gabrielle Taylor January 25, 2017

Stress less, or risk heart attack

By this time of the month, most of us are back at work and probably quickly losing sight of all the resolutions we promised we would try our absolute best to keep at the start of the new year. Resolutions like: exercising more regularly, eating more healthily, and stressing the small stuff less.

BUT, as the days wear on and work becomes less about escaping the kids on school holidays and more about deadlines and closing big important deals, stress seems to quickly creep back into our oh-so-recently relieved minds.  

So we are here to tell you, it might just be better for your health to push on with those resolutions and push away from added stress, according to recent research.

We all know that stress has never been a good thing for our health, and now a recent study has revealed a link between stress and an increased risk of heart attack. The study, published in the Lancet, suggests that strenuous brain activity can cause cardiovascular diseases.

It’s all to do with the region of the brain where stress occurs, known as the amygdala, where heightened activity has been linked to a greater risk of heart disease.

This is the first study that has been able to pinpoint one particular area of the brain and associate it with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Researchers found that in 293 patients who underwent a PET/CT scan and were then monitored over a 3.7 year period, 22 of the patients experienced cardiovascular events such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, angina, and peripheral arterial disease.

Furthermore, those that had higher amygdala activity during the observation period had a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and developed heart problems sooner than those who were less stressed out.

Lead author, Dr. Ahmed Tawakol of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard School spoke about the aim of the study saying, “This raises the possibility that reducing stress could produce benefits that extend beyond an improved sense of psychological wellbeing.”

With this, stress can be considered as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease - yet, stress can be managed, meaning that if we just stick to the motto of not stressing the small stuff, we might just actively be lowering our risk of heart attacks and other health problems.

To find out more about the study, click here.

Gabrielle Taylor
Gabrielle Taylor

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