Researchers find connection between stress and heart disease

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Dealing with stress may be doing more damage than once believed, according to new a report about negative emotions and the impact they have on health.

A new Journal Circulation report states that people with mild heart disease are more likely to report poorer health and negativity than those in the general population.

But researchers are still trying to determine if heart disease causes stress or if stress causes heart disease.

"I don't think we really know what came first," said Dr. Gregory Giesler, an interventional cardiologist at Huntington Hospital.

In the study, people with mild heart blockage exhibited lower general well-being and more psychological stress. Women fared even worse and said they felt more anxiety and fatigue.

"Women have different risk factors and different presentations and maybe stress may be a risk factor in women," Giesler explained.

Giesler said prolonged stress can cause a hyper-inflammatory response which can eventually lead to a blockage.

While everyone has stress, Giesler said it's important for people to learn how to handle it in a healthy way.
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