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Stressing over heart attacks

Pretoria News (South Africa)


STRESS does cause heart attacks and strokes, according to ground-breaking research.

The link between stress and cardiovascular problems has been a long-held belief among medical experts, but there has been little physical evidence. Now a study has found that stress sends the immune system into overdrive by increasing the number of white blood cells that fight disease. For people whose arteries are already thickened with plaque, extra white blood cells worsen inflammation and can lead to ruptures. Platelets and clotting proteins rush to fill the open wound - and if the clot blocks the artery, it will cause a heart attack.

Professor Matthias Nahrendorf, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and colleagues from Harvard Medical School, analysed 29 medical staff exposed to chronic stress and found white blood cell counts rose in all of them. They looked at how chronic stress in healthy mice increased white blood cell production which appeared to induce conditions in the arteries resembling lesions in humans that are prone to rupture and cause heart attacks. - Daily Mail

Pretoria News

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