A new study from South America adds substance to the stress-heart disease hypothesis that Malcolm Kendrick espouses in his book I recently reviewed.
Researchers studying a group of subjects in Latin America experiencing their first heart attack found that psychosocial stress was the leading cause, followed by high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and abdominal obesity. Last on the list of risk factors evaluated was dyslipidemia, but, as we will see, being last in reality doesn’t mean being last in the cholesterol-fevered minds of the researchers.
Although these risk factors seem to be different, they all are likely to be a part of the stress syndrome. Chronic stress often causes high blood pressure. Increased cortisol can certainly lead to abdominal obesity, and if unchecked, to diabetes. Stress also drives it’s victims to smoke and to binge on all the wrong foods.
It would seem that a program of stress reduction would work wonders on the rate of heart disease in South America and elsewhere. Based on the findings in this study that would certainly be my recommendation.
How about the authors of this paper? What do they recommend?
…reducing behavioral risk factors [smoking, eating fat, etc.], lowering blood pressure, and modifying lipids…
Yep, gotta get those lipids down.
Sounds to me like the researchers in South America are no different than the ones here. Let’s treat the symptoms, not the cause. And make sure that somehow lipids are one of the symptoms.
(Graphic: Self-Portrait by Gottfried Helnwein, watercolor on cardboard, 1982.)