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Research shows that those of us who perceive a lot of stress in our lives are at higher risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems over the long term.

The latest evidence comes from a new study of siblings in Sweden. Researchers identified about 137,000 people who had been diagnosed with stress-related disorders. […] Then, the researchers identified about 171,000 of their brothers and sisters who had similar upbringings and genes — but no anxiety disorder. Next, they compared the siblings’ rates of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, cardiac arrest and blood clots, over a number of years.

The Swedes who had a stress disorder, it turns out, had significantly higher rates of heart problems compared to their siblings.

« When people have stress disorders, these [stress response] systems are being activated at all the wrong times, » Bacon says. For instance, with PTSD, « you can get very exaggerated stress responses just thinking about something that happened. »

Since we can’t wave a magic wand and make stress disappear, what are the best coping options? There’s no magic bullet, but day-to-day habits can help tamp down stress.

Source: New England Public Radio – Read or listen to full article

This story was also featured in News Medical Life Sciences