Mental stress could decrease blood flow in young women’s hearts
The research shows that young women who have heart disease are more vulnerable to decreased blood flow, called myocardial ischemia, because of mental stress -- particularly compared to older patients and men. Myocardial ischemia can eventually cause a heart attack.
“Younger women tend to have quite a lot of stress in their lives,” Dr. Viola Vaccarino, lead study author, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology at Emory University, said. “Many of them have full-time jobs and at the same time have numerous responsibilities at home; financial hardship; as well as depression and anxiety, which are common in this group. Clinicians should ask about stress and emotional difficulties in these patients and recommend ways to help, such as finding time to relax and exercise.”
Coronary heart disease is a top cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Studies suggest that more young women have increased rates of death and complications after they experience a heart attack than men.
“Our findings suggest that women with heart disease in their 30s, 40s and early 50s are more vulnerable to the damaging effects of psychological stress on their heart,” Vaccarino said.
Organizations in this story
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