Sunday, March 10, 2013

Stress and artery health studied

Stress and artery health studied "Stress really does increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes," reported the Daily Mail (UK). It said research has found that people who become stressed are more likely to suffer from hardened arteries. This study measured volunteers' levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, while they carried out tests aimed at raising their stress levels. It found that people who had increased cortisol levels were more likely to have high calcium deposits in the arteries, a marker of coronary heart disease. Although high calcium deposits may indicate heart disease, this study did not directly investigate if stress increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. A single measure of stress taken at the same time as a measure of calcium build-up in the arteries cannot show whether a person’s lifetime stress habits have caused the build-up. Although further research is needed, minimising stress is known to be associated with improved mental and physical wellbeing. This research was carried out by Dr Mark Hamer and colleagues from University College London and Wellington Hospital. The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the Medical Research Council. The paper was published in the peer-reviewed European Heart Journal

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