Posted on Jul 01, 2015, 6 a.m.
Traumatic life events such as losing a child or a spouse increase the chances of a heart attack by more than 65%, among women.
Previous studies suggest that psychological stress contributes to the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Michelle A. Albert, from the University of California/San Francisco (UCSF; California, USA), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 26,763 women, average age 56 years, enrolled in the Women’s Health Study. Participants were surveyed as to negative life events and followed for an average of 9 years to ascertain heart attack risk. Traumatic life events such as losing a child or a spouse increased the chances of a heart attack by more than 65 percent among middle-aged and older women regardless of heart disease risk factors or socioeconomic status. A history of financial struggle was associated with a two-fold higher risk for heart attack among middle-aged and elderly women. Experiencing a traumatic life event such as losing a child or spouse raised the risk of heart attack by over 65%. A history of financial hardship was associated with a two-fold higher risk for heart attack. The study authors write that: “among middle aged and older women, we found supportive evidence that negative cumulative life events were associated with [heart attack] risk.”
Julius S Ngwa, Natalie B Slopen, Richard FGillum, Rimma Dushkes, Salih Garner-Grevious, Aryana Jacobs, David R Williams, Alan M Zaslavsky, Julie E Buring, Michelle A Albert. “Cumulative Negative Life Events and Risk of Myocardial Infarction: The Women’s Health Study” [Abstract 110]. Presentation at Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2015 Scientific Sessions, 29 April 2015; Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2015;8:A110.