Stress-related illness: Cardiovascular and psychiatric disorders

Stress and Cardiovascular Disorders

acute and chronic stress affects different aspects of the cardiovascular system, for example:

  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • stroke 

cardiovascular disorders are affected by lifestyle but stress might also cause cardiovascular disorders, for example:

  • stress activates the sympathetc branch (SNS) of the ANS, leading to contriction of blood vessels and a rise in blood pressure and heart rate
  • increased heart rate may wear away the lining of blood vessels
  • stress leads to increased glucose levels, leading to clumps blocking the vessels

Cardiovascular disorders and anger (acute)

Williams et al (2000)

Aim: to see whether anger was linked to heart disease:

Method: 13,000 people answered a 10 question anger scale. No pp's suffered from heart disease and 6 years later, 256 of pp's had experienced heart attacks. 

Findings: Those who scored highest on the anger scale were 2.5 times more likely to have a heart attack than those with the lowest anger ratings. 

Conclusion: This suggests anger may lead to cardiovascular disorders - 'individuals who find themselves prone to anger might benefit from anger…


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