Mourning the loss of a loved one or being told that you have cancer “can increase your risk of heart disease by 64%”
- People with a stress disorder, such as PTSD, have a considerable heart risk
- Heart failure usually affects patients in the first year, before blood clots cling
- Other traumatic events in life can be the diagnosis of a deadly disease
The stress of losing a loved one can increase the risk of heart disease, research suggests.
People suffering from stress-related conditions, such as PTSD, are 64 percent more at risk of heart failure in the first year of a traumatic event.
Researchers studied patients with stress-related disorders – a group of psychiatric disorders caused by a stressful life event.
Such events can be the mourning of a loved one, the diagnosis of a deadly disease, natural disasters, or violent assault.
The stress of losing a loved one can increase your risk of heart disease by 64 percent (inventory)
Previous investigations into the relationship between stress and heart disease are primarily aimed at war veterans with PTSD.
But researchers from the University of Iceland and the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, wanted to determine how stressful life events affect the public.
They analyzed 136,637 people diagnosed with a stress-related condition between 1987 and 2013.
In addition to PTSD, another example is an acute stress response when people develop anxiety, flashbacks, or heart palpitations after a stressful event.
And adjustment disorder occurs when a person experiences more stress than would be expected in response to a “simple problem,” such as a new job.
The patients in the study were compared with their brother or sisters, which amounted to a total of 171,314 siblings.
Each patient was also compared with ten randomly selected people of the same gender and year of birth, but was free from stress-related disorders or heart disease.
Results – published in BMJ – suggest that “stressed people” are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease when confronted with a traumatic life event.
The risk is worst in the first year after the event, when patients are 64 percent more at risk of heart disease than their siblings.
STRESS CAN BE FOUND BY LOOKING AT YOUR EYES
Just looking into someone’s eyes can indicate how stressed they are, research suggests.
Scientists from the University of Missouri, Columbia, discovered that the size of our students changes erratically when we are forced to multitask or are confronted with unexpected changes.
They hope that this will lead to a tool that employers can use to monitor how their employees interact before they become overwhelmed.
Main author Dr. Jung Hyup Kim – assistant professor in the engineering department of industrial and production systems – said: ‘It would be great if people could work perfectly every time.
‘But when you are tired, you often make a mistake.
“So if we can track the mental well-being of an employee, we can hopefully prevent future mistakes.”
The link was strongest for early heart disease – occurring before the age of 50 – than disorders that develop later in life.
And blood clots become more of a risk a year after the test, according to the results of the study.
The results were comparable when the patients were compared with members of the public.
And those who were diagnosed at a young age with a stress-related condition were more at risk.
Principal investigator Dr. Huan Song said the study showed a “clear link” between stress-related conditions and a higher risk of heart disease.
The results remained true even after correction for patient education, medical history and other psychiatric disorders.
“Most people are exposed to psychological trauma or stressful life events such as the death of a loved one at some point in their lives,” Dr. said. Song.
“There is increasing evidence that such setbacks can lead to an increased risk of various major illnesses and deaths.”
The study did not compare the effects of various stressful life events, such as mourning versus unemployment.
The researchers warned that the results were observational only and that further studies on the subject are required.
Professor Simon Bacon of Concordia University, Montreal, agrees that more research is needed, although he was not involved in the research.
In a main article, he suggested that a reverse cause – where people with underlying heart conditions are more prone to developing stress disorders – could be the cause.
Professor Bacon wrote: “Heart failure is often a slowly evolving chronic disease, so a reverse causal relationship cannot be completely excluded.”