Stress Breaks Hearts
Emotional Stress Alters Heart Function, Ups Heart Disease Risk
WebMD News Archive
Heartache, Heart Harm continued...
Even when intense bouts of emotion don't kill, they may cause long-lasting
"Most people who suffer the death of a loved one are not coming to
medical attention, but that does not mean their hearts are not stunned for a
period of time," Brotman says. "We doctors only see those with heart
failure, or those with already-damaged hearts whose defibrillators fire. But
probably, in every body, what stress hormones do today have some impact on how
healthy your cardiovascular system will be 20 years from now."
It would seem to be wise for all of us to learn to deal with stressful
emotions. But Brotman warns that there does not seem to be any
one-size-fits-all way to do this.
"We don't have concrete evidence to suggest that if you manage your
stress levels you will reduce your cardiovascular risk," he says.
"People are different and have different ways of reducing stress. It is
disingenuous to suggest that stress reduction is going to be simple."
Meanwhile, he urges doctors to pay more attention to what their patients are
telling them when they talk about stress.
"Real-time physical effects correlate with intense emotional
states," Brotman says. "We should think beyond cholesterol, beyond
blood pressure, when thinking about what it means to live a heart-healthy