Depression, anxiety and chronic life stress all raise the risk of coronary artery disease. (Source: 1999 study in Circulation)
Stress, high blood pressure and smoking are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. (Source: 2008 essay published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Stressful events that are shared by an entire community, such as earthquakes and the Sept. 11 attacks, increase the incidence of sudden cardiac death. (Sources: 1996 study in New England Journal of Medicine, 1999 study in Circulation and 2004 study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology)
Job pressure and excessive work hours were linked to smoking in men in a study of 1,101 Australian workers. (Source: 2007 study in American Journal of Industrial Medicine)
A 33% to 40% increase in systolic blood pressure was reported among white-collar Canadian workers with high levels of cumulative work stress. (Source: 2006 study in American Journal of Public Health)
A direct link between psychological distress and poor cardiovascular health was found in a study of 6,576 Scottish men and women tracked for an average of more than seven years.
Risk of cardiovascular disease and death rose by more than 50% among people with depression and anxiety in the Scottish study. Smoking accounted for 41% of the risk; high blood pressure was responsible for an additional 13%. (Source: 2008 study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology)
Almost double the risk of heart attack or death was found in coronary artery disease patients with the highest level of anxiety.
Among those patients, a 10% increased risk of heart attack or death was found in those whose anxiety rose over time. (Source: 2007 study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology)
Among 735 older men (mean age 60), the 15% who were most anxious had a 30% to 40% increased risk of heart attack. The higher the degree of anxiousness, the higher the risk — even when age, blood pressure, cholesterol and other factors were taken into account. (Source: 2008 study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology)
Anger and hostility prompt behavioral changes -- such as smoking, overeating and lack of exercise -- that increase the risk of cardiovascular events. A 19% rise in risk was found among those who were previously healthy, along with a 23% increase in those who already had heart disease. (Source: 2009 study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology)
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