Stress can be caused by many factors: work, study, toxic relationships or even receiving few “likes” on social networks. The harder it lasts, however, the worse it is not only for our mind but also for our heart: according to a recent study, in fact, if this condition is long-term, the risk of having a heart attack can increase.
Conducting this analysis was a group of researchers from the University of Linköping in Sweden led by Tomas Faresjö of the Department of Health, Medicine and Health Sciences, who then published the results in Scientific Reports. According to what was written in this report, measuring long-term stress and the link with heart problems is particularly difficult as there are no reliable methods and reference points for carrying out studies that, to date, are in short supply.
As explained by Faresjö, however, cortisol levels in hair could be a useful new indicator to discover the correlation between the two: thanks to a new biomarker, the researchers used hair samples from 1 to 3 centimeters (or about 1 -3 months of growth) belonging to 174 people already hospitalized for myocardial infarction and to another 3,000 participants of similar age who participated in the SCAPIS study (Swedish CardioPulmonary bioImage Study).
The results? Patients who suffered a heart attack had higher and significant levels of cortisol during the month before the event and, adjusting the values for other factors such as hypertension, blood lipid level, heredity, diabetes, or smoking, they eventually discovered that cortisol is actually related to a risk factor for heart attacks .
Despite this, as researcher Susanna Strömberg said, more studies are needed to better understand this and other possible links: “We will further investigate the mechanisms that may explain how stress levels affect heart attack risk. We are particularly interested in various markers of inflammation and calcifications in blood vessels. We want to investigate whether these are related to long-term stress ” .
But there are studies that also show how to reduce stress : in November, in fact, during an experiment it was discovered that having a private green space with plants leads to a decrease in stress of about 6%.