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Mental stress may have a stronger effect on women than men.The effects of mental stress may differ between men and women, with women more likely to suffer from negative emotions and heart diseases than men as a result of stress, finds a new US study.

The research team, led by Dr Zainab Samad, assistant professor of medicine at Duke University in the United States, examined the effects of stress on the heart as part of a larger research project. Participants, who were being treated for heart disease, were asked to take part in tasks that induced mental stress and an exercise test that caused physical strain. During tasks and in rest periods between tasks, their blood pressure and heart rate were monitored and blood samples were taken.

The researchers found that women exposed to stress were more likely than men to experience myocardial ischemia, which may lead to a heart attack. In women, stress also increased the risk of the formation of blood clots and induced more negative emotions than in men.

Dr Samad said that the findings should be taken into consideration when treating patients with a heart disease. The researchers stressed that further studies are required for better understanding of how stress reactions differ between the sexes.

Originally published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the study was reported by the online news service Medical News Today.

Helsingin Sanomat
Niina Woolley – HT
Lehtikuva /Marja Airio

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