Thursday, June 2, 2011

Heart attack fear 'may worsen outcome', study suggests

People with an intense fear of dying during a heart attack could suffer a worse outcome, research suggests. London-led researchers asked 208 patients to rate their levels of fear following a severe cardiac event. People who reported they were most distressed during an attack had higher levels of chemical markers - linked to inflammation - in their blood. Writing in the European Heart Journal, the authors say heightened inflammation may lead to poorer long-term health. "Large inflammatory responses are known to be damaging to the heart, and to increase the risk of longer-term cardiac problems such as having another heart attack," said British Heart Foundation professor of psychology, Andrew Steptoe. The research, led by a team at Imperial College, found that patients who reported an intense fear of dying had raised levels of TNF alpha - a marker that has been linked to inflammatory processes in the body

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