Stress and Heart Disease: A Close Circuit!

February 18, 2008

Stress from work?  Who isnt? But the way we handle stress can make a difference in how it affects our lives.  We always associate it as part of our day to day activity otherwise, it is not living if we dont have stress.  It gives us the challenge to move on and to pursue what we have in mind to achieve. But along the way comes the roadblocks called “Stress”

Recently an nice article examined how stress can affect out health.  I am a believer of stress as a big factor in increasing a patient’s risk to develop chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.  Now published in the European Heart Journal is a detailed examination of how stress can affect the heart!


A total of 10 308 London-based male and female civil servants aged 35–55 of the Whitehall II study were studied. Exposures included work stress and outcomes included behavioural risk factors, the metabolic syndrome, heart rate variability, morning rise in cortisol, and incident CHD on the basis of CHD death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or definite angina.

  • Chronic work stress was associated with CHD and this association was stronger among participants aged under 50 by 68%.
  • There were similar associations between work stress and low physical activity, poor diet, the metabolic syndrome, its components, and lower heart rate variability.
  • Cross-sectionally, work stress was associated with a higher morning rise in cortisol.
  • Around 32% of the effect of work stress on CHD was attributable to its effect on health behaviours and the metabolic syndrome.

Conclusion: Work Stress may be an important determinant of CHD among workiing-age populations, which is mediated through indirect effects on health behaviours and direct effects on neuroendocrine stress pathways.


The above results are clear: once you’re stressed out… you produce stress hormones through the nueroendocrine system resulting in an increase of serum cortisol which can be harmful to the body including the way it signals how the heart beats! End result: Heart disease….

Further examination revealed that work stress is associated with a poorer diet in terms of eating less fruit and vegetables, and less exercise which also then contribute to increasing one’s risk for heart disease further.  I am sure a lot of the readers are guilty of this!  Too little time…too much to do! In fact in this study around 32% of the effect of work stress on CHD could be explained by its effect on health behaviors and the metabolic syndrome.

In short….Enjoy your work…problems come but solutions are abundant.  It is a matter of finding them!

Mind Your Heart… Eat Healthy, Exercie Freely and Be Stress Free!

3 Responses to “Stress and Heart Disease: A Close Circuit!”

  1. […] included behavioural risk factors, the metabolic syndrome, heart rate …Original post by Doc Gerry delivered by Medtrials and […]

  2. […] Heart Journal is a detailed examination of how stress can affect …article continues at Doc Gerry brought to you by and […]

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