Heart Attack Risk Skyrockets During Election Season

(IntegrityPress.org) – A new study says that during times of increased stress, certain people are at increased risk of heart attacks and other serious cardiac problems. The research was undertaken by staff at Massachusetts General Hospital and presented at the latest American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session.

The study involved the analysis of data taken from 18,500 individuals whose details had been recorded in the hospital’s Brigham Biobank between 2000 and 2020. All 18,500 were sufferers of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), which includes conditions such as unstable angina and heart attacks. Researchers used their neuroticism polygenic risk score (nPRS) in order to determine how sensitive to stress they were. Researchers were then able to compare the nPRS scores of those in a control group, those who suffered ACS episodes during high-stress times, and those who experienced ACS during normal times.

The researchers found that during stressful times, for example, the days following a presidential election, sports events, or Christmas day, those with higher nPRS scores were more likely to experience heart problems. Those with higher-than-average nPRS scores were a third more likely to suffer ACS episodes during stressful periods. The researchers also found that patients who had both high a nPRS score and either anxiety or depression were three times more likely to experience ACS during such times.

The study’s results come as no surprise to the study’s lead author, Dr. Shady Abohashem. Abohashem said that there has been a long-established link between conditions such as anxiety and depression and heart problems. He went on to say that these latest findings could be used to influence how doctors screen for potential heart problems, and how they may be able to help patients to prevent ACS episodes.

He emphasized the importance of looking after one’s mental health as the “mind-heart connection is strong”. He added that people should remember that events such as elections can be very stressful for many people, and that people should try to take breaks from related coverage or discussion if they feel they need to. Abohashem also suggested using stress-busting techniques such as practicing yoga and mindfulness techniques, as well as maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.

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