The Lancet reports that the development of cardiovascular diseases on the background of stress may be associated with changes in the brain. Stress causes increased activity of subcortical brain structures – the amygdala, and this leads to increased release of platelets in the blood and the development of inflammation in the vessel walls.
The relationship between the risk of heart disease and prolonged stress has long been known, but to understand its cause have not yet succeeded. Previously identified increased activity of the amygdala in people with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, high anxiety.
The study lasted 4 years, it was attended by 293 patient. As a method of diagnosis, the researchers used a combined scanning, PET/CT, they were also conducting monitoring activity of the bone marrow, spleen and condition of the arteries.
In the result, it was revealed that patients with increased activity of the amygdala have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, and they have a high risk for early development of cardiovascular problems. Scientists also confirmed that the high activity of the amygdala correlated with an increased number of platelets in the blood in humans – earlier in animal studies have already provided data on the emissions of platelets and the development of inflammation in the blood vessels during chronic stress. Also confirmed the increase in the concentration in the organism on the background stress C‑reactive protein, which under conditions of prolonged psychological stress has reached the same level as in inflammation.
Thus, overwork and bad emotions have a more tangible negative impact on our health than previously thought.
Scientists believe that the results of this work can help more effectively treat diseases of the heart and blood vessels, induced by stress. Currently the most effective method of combating heart attack and stroke is prevention, in particular – maintain a calm emotional state.
Cardiologists recommend in any stressful situation to take drugs that help to reduce nervous tension. Most often, this is prescribed Glycine – the amino acid that is a natural body substance and has no contraindications and side effects.