Stress Greatly Increases Risk of Low Blood Flow in Women under 55

Heart disease is, despite the efforts of America’s finest health care institutions and free health insurance policies, the leading cause of death in American men; you may be surprised to know that this common ailment is the leading killer of women as well. An estimated 600,000 people a year, both men and women, succumb to some variety of heart disease every year, often suddenly, and coronary heart disease – the most common type of disease in the wide spectrum of heart-related illnesses – is responsible for 380,000 of those deaths.

At the American Heart Association’s 2014 Scientific Sessions, evidence was presented that shows that some women with a history of heart problems earlier in their lives are in more danger than men of a similar age and history. This increased risk is seemingly due to the effect emotional turmoil has on the blood flow of females. Leading this groundbreaking study was Dr. Viola Vaccarino of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Risk factors don’t explain these differences but they can contribute to your overall risk of heart attack. It may seem like a confusing contradiction, but Dr. Vaccarino explains that, “Women who develop heart disease at a younger age make up a special high-risk group because they are disproportionally vulnerable to emotional stress,” meaning that while smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes contribute normally to your risk of heart disease, women who have heart attacks earlier in life fit into a completely separate high-risk category. The culprit here is, unsurprisingly, stress.

Evidence to support this claim was gathered during a study of 534 patients of both genders. Each took a standardized mental health examination involving making a speech about a stressful situation from their own lives to an audience. After a few days, this same group was subjected to physical stress tests involving either a treadmill endurance test or a pharmacological stress test. During these tests, several coronary parameters were monitored using nuclear imaging.

Results from this test clearly showed that women 55 and younger had drastically higher reduction in blood flow during the mental stress test. Women 65 and older, however, showed no differences from their male equivalents in the test, indicating that the emotional stress has a greater effect earlier in life.

By comparing the evidence gathered during these tests with studies examining typical female activities, it’s easy to see a link between emotional stress and reduced blood flow in younger women who often juggle more stressful responsibilities than men. Supporting this claim are several studies that show that women have a greater connection to their families and often spend more time caring for elderly parents or children.

Paying the penalty for no health insurance is something that can be avoided, so if you live a stressful life, we encourage you to look into health insurance companies or the Obamacare health insurance plans provided by the government. Any coverage is better than no coverage, and in an age with so many options, it couldn’t hurt to do some research.

Have you felt the effects of decreased blood flow or know someone who may be in danger of entering the high-risk category? Let us know in the comments section below, and be sure to share this information with people who may benefit from it.