Stress May Be Giving Young, Healthy Women Heart Attacks

Findings from an unsettling new study.

There’s a type of heart attack that’s triggered by stress and it’s affecting young women in surprisingly high numbers, according to new research presented at the American College of Cardiologists in Washington D.C.

The research was a joint project between cardiologists at Aston Medical School in the UK and the University of Alberta in Canada. They studied more than 33,000 heart attack victims over 15 years and found an alarming trend — healthy young women, with no obvious signs of or risk factors for heart disease, were suffering from heart attacks. Adding to the importance of the findings is the fact that researchers suspect these may be stress-induced.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

The researchers were looking at a specific kind of heart attack called Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, or SCAD. SCAD has been linked to emotional stress from life events, such as pregnancy or the death of a loved one. According to the findings, SCAD victims are younger than typical heart attack victims. Often times the victims are young women, many of whom were pregnant or had just given birth. Additionally, people with SCAD rarely have factors associated with heart disease, like as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

“We believe that emotional and hormonal factors play a big part in SCAD attacks,” said lead researcher Dr. Rahul Potluri, adding that the cause of these heart attacks (aka the stressor) differs for everyone.

Just last week we wrote about how women tend to be more stressed out by life events than men. If this stress is causing mental and physical distress, it’s time to for everyone, especially women, to find ways to de-stress in their daily lives. It’s hard to anticipate and cope with big life events that lead to stress, but there are simple ways to try to make your day-to-day life calmer, like these simple mental and physical exercises.

Read more here.