Stress does bad things to the heart. New studies have found higher rates of cardiac problems in veterans with PTSD, New Orleans residents six years after Hurricane Katrina and Greeks struggling through that country’s financial turmoil.
Disasters and prolonged stress can raise “fight or flight” hormones that affect blood pressure, blood sugar and other things in ways that make heart trouble more likely, doctors say. They also provoke anger and helplessness and spur heart-harming behaviors such as eating or drinking too much.
“We’re starting to connect emotions with cardio-vascular risk markers” and the new research adds evidence of a link, said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association spokeswoman.
She had no role in the studies, which were discussed Sunday.