Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stress Linked to Later Heart Disease According to 911 Survey

Adults who took place in a national online health assessment, conducted by the University of California, Irvine were found to have a 53% increase in the diagnosis of heart disease following 911; strengthening opinions that stress and heart disease are related. Over three thousand adults were enrolled in the online survey.

The initial health assessment was performed just before the 911 attacks; a second survey was conducted nine to fourteen days later, requesting information about the groups stress levels. Those who reported the highest levels of anxiety and related symptoms following 911 showed a threefold increase in the development of hypertension, and were twice as likely to report the development of some form of heart disease several years later. Contributing factors such as metabolic index, smoking, mental health, and level of exposure to 911 events were adjusted for the study.

Only 21.5% of those surveyed had a diagnosis of heart disease before the attack; the number jumped to 30.5% three years later - a 53% increase.

The authors of the study believe this survey highlights the role of acute stress and future incidence of heart disease. It is suggested that physicians consider acute stress as a risk factor for the development of delayed heart disease.

The findings were published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Ref: Cardiosource Video Network