A new study conducted by researchers at University of Pittsburgh warns that stress and depression not only has a negative effect on the functioning of your heart, but can also lead to increased risk of heart disease.
The researchers measured the brain activity of 157 health volunteers after asking them to regulate their emotional reactions on seeing unpleasant images. They also analyzed their arteries for signs of atherosclerosis to assess heart disease risk and measured levels of inflammation in the bloodstream.
The researchers found that people who displayed higher brain activity when regulating their emotions had higher levels of a type of pro-inflammatory cytokines called interleukin-6 in their blood stream, which suggested increased risk of atherosclerosis. The study has been published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.