We have known for a long time that cigarettes are extremely damaging to our health, but it has only been in recent years that the physically damaging effects of stress have been fully recognised.
A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology has now added further weight to the impact of stress on our health by revealing the results of some research which shows that people who reported feeling stressed were a staggering 27 per cent more likely to suffer from a heart attack due to the effects raising both blood pressure and levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.
The study itself investigated six previous studies in which the participants had been asked questions such as ‘how often do you feel stressed’ and ‘how stressed are you feeling’. The participants were then divided into high and low stress groups according to their answers and were then tracked for the next 14 years so the number of heart attacks could be recorded.
The results of the study showed that those who were in the high stress group were 27 per cent more likely to suffer from a heart attack than the individuals who were placed in the low stress group – an effect which expert researchers have actually compared to the impact of smoking five or more cigarettes each day.
The ‘stress effect’ was also compared to that of having high cholesterol and high blood pressure, both of which put additional pressure on the heart.
The researchers carried out further analysis to try and discover the link between stress and heart disease, and whilst they found that gender was not a predominant factor, age was.
The experts noted that the older generations are at a higher risk of issues such as high blood pressure and cholesterol to begin with and that stress may then interact with those factors to cause a heart attack.
Whilst further studies are of course needed to cement these findings, a key message to take away from these results is that taking steps to reduce your stress is extremely important for your health on both a physical and emotional level.
If you are feeling under pressure, anxious and stressed then you may benefit from talking through your concerns with a counsellor in confidence. A counsellor will provide you with a neutral environment in which you can openly talk about the stresses and strains you are facing so that eventually you can find a way to move forward with a more positive outlook.
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