HEART ATTACK: Stress Gene as Cause

By Precious Adi

Heart attack bpResearchers have discovered a stress gene that has been linked to having a higher risk of dying from heart attack or heart disease.

In their study, they discovered that heart patients with this genetic change have a 38% increased risk of heart attack or death.

According to British Heart Foundation, stress may directly increase the risk of heart disease.

In their research, a team at Duke University School of Medicine studied a single DNA letter change in the human genome, which has been linked to being more vulnerable to the effect of stress.

They also found that patients with this genetic change has an increased risk of death from heart disease after seven years of follow up as compared with those without this genetic change, even after taking into account factors like age, smoking and obesity.

As a result of their study, they suggested that stress management techniques and drugs therapies could reduce deaths and disabilities related to heart attack.

According to Dr. Redford Williams, the Director of Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University school of Medicine “the work is the first step towards finding genetics variants that identify people at higher risks of cardiovascular disease”.

“This is one step towards the day when we will be able to identify people on the basis of genotype who are at higher risk of developing heart disease.

“That’s a step in the direction of personalized medicine for cardiovascular disease” he said.

Being able to identify people with these genetic changes could lead to early intervention for heart patients who are at high risk of dying.

It has been identified that one out of 10 men and 3% of women in the group of 6000 heart patients are associated with emotional stress and this affects them badly.

Commenting on the study, Prof. Jeremy Pearson associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation said that the result provided further evidence that stress may directly increase heart disease.

“By finding a possible mechanism behind this relationship, these researchers have suggested tackling the problem either by changing behavior or, if needed, with existing machines,

“There are positive lifestyles changes you can make to help you cope with stress. A balanced diet and a regular physical activity will help feel better to cope with life’s demand.

“If you often feel anxious and you are worried about your stress level, make an appointment to talk it through with your doctor”.