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Author Topic: Poor health habits are the main cause of heart disease  (Read 584 times)
amg
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« on: January 09, 2009, 12:58:31 AM »

The poor health habits of people suffering from stress are the main cause of their increased risk of heart disease, according to new research funded by the British Heart Foundation and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) (1).

Previous research has confirmed a link between anxiety and depression and an increased risk of heart disease. This new research has found that people suffering from anxiety and depression are at 50% higher risk of heart disease and two thirds of this increased risk is due to poor health habits in particular smoking and a lack of exercise.

 This suggests not only a wider approach to treating anxiety and depression is necessary but also an approach to combat the unhealthy behaviours which occur as a result of this.

Led by Dr. Mark Hamer, a senior research fellow at University College London the researchers recruited 6,576 men and women who were participating in the Scottish Health Survey (2).

Participants took tests designed to measure general happiness and symptoms of depression or anxiety in addition to tests for common risk factors for heart disease. The survey found that around 15% of participants were found to be suffering from stress, anxiety or depression

These participants were followed for seven years and deaths from heart disease as well as the rate of heart attack, stroke, heart bypass surgery and coronary interventions were monitored. During that period there was 223 cardiovascular events including 63 deaths.

Dr. Mark Hamer said:

“Whilst it is important to identify stress as a risk factor for heart attacks, we need to look at the unhealthy behaviours people slip into as a result of increased stress. This research emphasises that broader preventative strategies are necessary to decrease this risk.”

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the BHF said:

“This research suggests that the link between anxiety and depression and heart disease is mainly due to the fact that, when stressed, many of us slip into unhealthy habits. The findings suggest that rather than reaching for a cigarette when stressed, people should try to find a less dangerous way of venting their frustration such as going for a walk or run”

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