Stress-related Disorders Tied to Increased Heart Disease Risk

by Adeline Dorcas on April 11, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Stress-related Disorders Tied to Increased Heart Disease Risk
Stress-related disorders can put you at a higher risk of developing heart disease, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in The BMJ.

Stress-related disorders--conditions triggered by a significant life event or trauma--may be linked to a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), finds a large Swedish study.

The risk of severe and acute CVD events, such as cardiac arrest and heart attack, was particularly high in the first six months after diagnosis of a stress-related disorder, and within the first year for other types of CVD.

Most people are, at some point during their life, exposed to psychological trauma or stressful life events such as the death of a loved one, a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, natural disasters, or violence, write the authors.

And there is building evidence which suggests that severe stress reactions to significant life events or trauma are linked to the development of CVD.

But previous studies have mainly focused on male veterans or those currently active in the military with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or PTSD symptoms. And because of the smaller size of these samples, data on the effects of stress reactions on different types of CVD are limited.

So to shed some light on this, researchers used Swedish population and health registers to explore the role of clinically diagnosed PTSD, acute stress reaction, adjustment disorder, and other stress reactions in the development of CVD.

They controlled for family background, medical history, and underlying psychiatric conditions.

The researchers matched 136,637 people from an "exposed cohort" who were diagnosed with a stress-related disorder between January 1987 and December 2013 with 171,314 full siblings who were free of stress-related disorders and CVD.

For each exposed person, 10 people from the general population who were unaffected by stress-related disorders and CVD at the date of diagnosis of the "exposed" patient were randomly selected.

Exposed and unexposed people were then individually matched by birth year and sex.

Severe stress reactions to significant life events or trauma were linked to a heightened risk of several types of CVD, especially during the first year after diagnosis, with a 64 percent higher risk among people with a stress-related disorder compared to their unaffected sibling.

The findings were similar for people with a stress-related disorder compared to the general population.

And there was a stronger link between stress-related disorders and early onset CVD - cases of disease which developed before the age of 50 - than later onset ones.

Out of all studied CVDs, the excess risk during the first year was strongest for heart failure, and for major blood clots (embolism and thrombosis) after one year.

There were similar associations across sex, calendar period, medical history, and family history of CVD. But those who were diagnosed with a stress disorder at a younger age had a heightened risk of CVD.

This is an observational study based on the Swedish population and, as such, can't establish the cause. The authors point out evidence from other studies suggesting a biological link between severe stress reactions and cardiovascular disease development. And they can't rule out the role of other unmeasured behavioral factors, such as smoking and alcohol intake.

But they say that their study is the first to explore the association between a number of stress-related disorders, including but not limited to PTSD, and several types of CVD using sibling-based comparisons, among both men and women.

And doctors need to be aware of the "robust" link between stress-related disorders and a higher subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly during the months after diagnosis, they add.

"These findings call for enhanced clinical awareness and, if verified, monitoring or early intervention among patients with recently diagnosed stress-related disorders," they conclude.

In a linked editorial, Professor Simon Bacon from Concordia University in Canada, says that the design of the study "allows us to make reasonable assumptions about the similarity of the environment, lifestyles, and health behaviors between those with a disorder and their paired siblings without one. Such assumptions allow inferences about other alternative potential pathways linking these disorders to CVD outcomes."

In the future, well-designed studies evaluating more appropriate interventions will be critical, not only to confirm the inferences of the new study but also to provide real benefits to patients," he concludes.

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
'Hybrid Immunity' may Help Elude COVID-19 Pandemic
Stroop Effect
Plant-Based Diet may Reduce the Risk of COVID-19
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cardiac Catheterization Heart Attack Air travel: To fly or not to fly Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Body Mass Index Silent Killer Diseases Heart Healthy Heart Lifestyle Paths to Prevent Heart Disease Statins 

Recommended Reading
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder May Up Heart Disease, Cancer Risk
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with terrorist attacks and other traumatic events ....
Lifestyle Paths to Prevent Heart Disease
Heart disease can be of many types depending upon whether they involve the heart muscles or artery ....
Stress is a Leading Risk Factor for Heart Disease
Some people may not know they have coronary heart disease until they have a heart attack, as it can ...
Heart Attack- Lifestyle risks
Heart attack is the death of the heart muscle due to loss of blood supply. Simple guidelines to ......
Air travel: To fly or not to fly
Air travel is for everyone, even those with medical conditions....
Body Mass Index
Body mass index (BMI) is a simple tool that is generally used to estimate the total amount of body f...
Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is a radiological procedure for both diagnosis and treatment of heart condit...
Heart Attack
Heart attack is the death of the heart muscle due to loss of blood supply. Heart disease is the lead...
Statins are new wonder drugs that are proving to be efficacious, not merely in relieving symptoms bu...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use