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expert reaction to heart attack risk and perception of effect of stress on health

Research published in the European Heart Journal found stress has an adverse impact on  health through an increased risk of suffering a heart attack.


Dr Tim Chico, Senior Clinical Lecturer and honorary Consultant Cardiologist, University of Sheffield/Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said:

“We are increasingly aware of the links between a healthy mind and a healthy body, and this study raises the possibility that feeling stressed might slightly increase the risk of heart disease. However, such a link is not completely proven by the current study. Three percent of people who did not feel at all stressed suffered heart disease years later, whereas the figure was five percent in those who felt the most stressed. Clearly stress isn’t the major cause of heart disease if it happens so often in non-stressed people and only a little more in very stressed people.

“Stress itself is unpleasant whatever its impact on health and for that reason it’s worth taking measures to reduce stress. I must confess to feeling stressed myself some of the time, but this research doesn’t make me worry that I’m increasing my risk of heart disease.

“Clearly, getting stressed about this research would be counterproductive, but it’s a good reminder that measures that reduce the risk of heart disease, such as exercise and a healthy lifestyle, also reduce stress.”


‘Increased risk of coronary heart disease among individuals reporting adverse impact of stress on their health: the Whitehall II prospective cohort study’ by Hermann Nabi et al., published in the European Heart Journal on Thursday 27 June.

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