Male And Female Heart Reacts Differently To Mental Stress

By on October 13, 2014

According to a new study cardiovascular and psychological reactions of men and women are different towards mental stress.

This study was conducted on men and women who already have undergone treatment for heart diseases.

This study, which was done by Duke Heart Center, was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Zainab Samad, M.D., M.H.S. is the lead author of this study, and also an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Researchers of this study looked 254 male and 56 female heart disease diagnosed patients enrolled in larger REMIT study, which is about the impact of escitalopram medicine on heart disease induced by mental stress.

Heart and Mental StressOnce the baseline testing for these patients were done, they were carried out with 3 mentally stressful tasks, which included a mental arithmetic test, a mirror tracing test, and an anger recall test. These mentally stressful tasks were followed with treadmill exercise test.

Echocardiography of the participants was conducted by the researchers while they are doing mentally stressful tasks, and during rest periods between the tasks. This is done to study the changes in heart, they also took blood samples, and even the blood pressure and heart rate was measured.

After examining the results, researchers have found out that with response to the mental stress more change in blood pressure and heart rate were observed in male participants, and myocardial ischemia, decreased blood flow to the heart was observed in female participants.

Increased platelet aggregation was also observed in female participants when compared to male participants. This increased platelet is the start of the formation of blood clots [Blood Clotting Disorders].

Greater increase of negative emotions and greater decrease positive emotions were expressed by female participants when compared to male participants during doing mentally stressful tasks given to them.

Zainab Samad, M.D., M.H.S. said that mental stress and cardiovascular diseases relationship is well known. And this study reveals that’s reaction of mental stress on heart diseases is different in men and women. She added that their researchers were able to find out this variation from evaluating and treating cardiovascular disease patients.

Samad also said that there is need of further studies to the test this gender difference in response of heart with respect to mental stress and long term outcomes.

She also said that their study also emphasizes the lack of inadequacy of available risk prediction tools. As a result, entire facet of risk could not measured by the study. These risks include the impact of negative physiological responses to psychological stress in both the sexes, particularly with respect to women.

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