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Annu Rev Public Health. 2013;34:337-54. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031912-114452. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

Stress and cardiovascular disease: an update on current knowledge.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.


Considerable progress has been made during the past decade in research on cardiovascular effects of stress. Early-life stressors, such as childhood abuse and early socioeconomic adversity, are linked to increased cardiovascular morbidity in adulthood. Our updated meta-analyses of prospective studies published until 2011 show a 1.5-fold (95% confidence interval 1.2-1.9) increased risk of coronary heart disease among adults experiencing social isolation and a 1.3-fold (1.2-1.5) excess risk for workplace stress; adverse metabolic changes are one of the underlying plausible mechanisms. Stress, anger, and depressed mood can act as acute triggers of major cardiac events; the pooled relative risk of acute coronary syndrome onset being preceded by stress is 2.5 (1.8-3.5) in case-crossover studies. Stress is also implicated in the prognosis of cardiovascular disease and in the development of stress (takotsubo) cardiomyopathy. A major challenge over the next decade is to incorporate stress processes into the mainstream of cardiovascular pathophysiological research and understanding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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