Higher blood pressure puts stress on the heart and contributes to stiffening of the arteries, making them more susceptible to blockage. It is thought to be responsible for 50% of all heart attacks and strokes. Report by Mailonline
The researchers did further analysis to try to learn what might unpin the link between stress and heart disease. They found that while gender was not a significant factor, age was.
Among older people, the relationship between stress and Coronary heart disease was stronger, suggesting the effects of stress compound over time.
They also noted that older people tended to have worse risk factors such as high blood pressure and raised cholesterol to begin with, and that stress may interact with those risk factors to trigger a heart attack.
“These findings are significant because they are applicable to nearly everyone,” said study author Safiya Richardson.
“The key takeaway [message]is that how people feel is important for their heart health, so anything they can do to reduce stress may improve their heart health in the future.”
Her co-author, Donald Edmondson, assistant professor of behavioural medicine at CUMC added: “This is the most precise estimate of that relationship, and it gives credence to the widely held belief that general stress is related to heart health.”
Heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer. Around 270 000 people in the UK suffer a heart attack every year and nearly one in three die before they reach hospital.