Taking unnecessary stress at workplace or at home can put your heart at risk. According to the team from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School,
heightened activity in the amygdala — a region of the brain involved in stress — can lead to cardiovascular disease in humans apart from established causes like smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes. Previous research has also shown that the amygdala is more active in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression but before this study, no research had identified the region of the brain that links stress to the risk of heart attack and stroke. “Our results provide a unique insight into how stress may lead to cardiovascular disease. This raises the possibility that reducing stress could produce benefits that extend beyond an improved sense of psychological wellbeing,” said lead author Dr Ahmed Tawakol from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Eventually, chronic stress could be treated as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is routinely screened for and effectively managed like other major risk factors, Dr Tawakol added in a paper published in the prestigious journal The Lancet.