Dr. Campbell: Stress in younger women linked to higher rate of heart issues


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. today in both men and women.

In fact, more women than men die of heart disease every single year. Now, a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association finds that young women with mental or emotional stress have a higher rate of reduced blood flow to the heart-this can result in heart attack and other cardiac complications.

Heart disease in women is the number one killer in the U.S. today. More women than men die of heart disease. In fact, women are actually under-treated and under-served. Symptoms in women may differ from those in men and are often vague and non-specific.

Almost 700 women were studied as part of this study. All subjects were between 34 and 79 years old with coronary heart disease. Patients underwent imaging tests where researchers took pictures of their hearts before and during mental stress, and then examined changes in blood flow between men and women.

Researchers found that stress-induced reduced blood flow happened much more commonly in younger women as compared to older women and men. In fact, the frequency of reduced blood flow almost doubled in women compared to men for every 10-year decrease in age. Ultimately, these 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.

Women tend to have multiple roles-professional, mom, spouse-they feel a significant amount of stress to excel in all aspects of their lives. This can create significant stress. Depression and anxiety are common in young women. These factors may explain the increased stress induced cardiac problems that this study demonstrates.

It is vital that women take time out of their day for themselves every single day-even if it is only 15 minutes. Incorporating exercise, yoga and meditation can also be of great benefit.To get in touch with Dr. Campbell, you can head to his website, Facebook page or message him on Twitter. If there’s a topic you’d like to see Dr. Campbell cover, let us know by sending an email to newstips@wncn.com.

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