We all know that stress can be really harmful to psychological health, but now studies have found that it can even have adverse effects on physical health. The study found that people who suffer from some form of stress disorder are a lot more prone to developing cardiovascular diseases and conditions as well. Over 130,000 people in Sweden’s National Patient Register, all of whom suffered from stress-related disorders were analysed for this research. They were then compared to 170,000 siblings who didn’t have stress disorders.
The researchers went on to explain that stress disorders can be caused due to multiple factors like the death of a loved one, natural disasters, psychological trauma etc and can then take the form of post-traumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder and whatnot. Because of such excessive traumatic experiences, these people are more prone to cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, heart failure and thrombosis.
It was found that people who suffered from a traumatic event and were diagnosed with stress disorders had very high probabilities when it came to developing a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. And this only went on to increase after six months of being diagnosed. Whereas people who were not diagnosed with stress disorders and suffered from a traumatic event had an even higher risk of developing heart disease.
In fact, the risks also changed based on the time period. While most people were found to suffer from heart failure, other prominent risks included blood clots as well. The researchers now hope that their research can indicate just how strong a connection there is between stress and heart health and how these risks can be avoided. “These findings call for enhanced clinical awareness and, if verified, monitoring or early intervention among patients with recently diagnosed stress-related disorders,” the researchers wrote.
"The healthcare community has made important strides in raising public awareness about heart disease, yet our research shows a significant gap in how much people understand about the disease and their own risk for a heart attack," said the chief doctor who conducted the study. The researchers also tried to find new methods of reducing the risk of developing heart disease.
One such study explored the idea of introducing more vegetation and green spaces to neighbourhoods. They figured that not only would some greenery help combat stress and stress-related disorders but will also help improve heart health. “Indeed, increasing the amount of vegetation in a neighborhood may be an unrecognized environmental influence on cardiovascular health and a potentially significant public health intervention,” said another doctor. Well, this sure proves that stress can affect our health in more ways than we imagine. So, if you suffer from a stress-related disorder, get the necessary help as soon as possible. Stay tuned for more updates.