Psychological stress is part of everybody’s daily life. Stress is mostly caused by work, poverty, marital problems and other life’s circumstances. If not resolved, psychological stress will lead to denser psychological disorders.
Psychological stress has been associated with numerous physical and psychological problems. Recent studies found more and more evidence which suggest that stress has negative impacts on almost all aspects of the body.
For example, one study examined whether or not the perceived negative health impact of stress is associated with heart disease.
The data was drawn from 7268 participants. For eighteen years of observation, the result suggests that 352 deaths related to coronary heart disease or experienced myocardial infarction (MI) incidents were attributed to the negative perception of stress.
Participants who perceived that stress can cause a negative effect on their health were two times more likely to suffer heart-related diseases than those who don’t believe that stress has a negative impact on their health.
Meaning when you believe that stress can negatively affect your health, you may be more likely to suffer heart disease than other people.
Another study also found that psychological stress is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
The most recent published study on The Lancet strengthens the previous findings. Emotional stress is found to have an association with cardiovascular disease.
The reported link between psychological stress and cardiovascular disease was due to amygdala activity. Amygdala is a small region of the brain that is responsible for generating human emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, as well as controlling aggressive behavior.
The study further suggests that,
“Amygdalar activity is involved partly via a path that includes increased bone-marrow activity and arterial inflammation. These findings provide novel insights into the mechanism through which emotional stressors can lead to cardiovascular disease in human beings.”
But although these pieces of evidence provide a new way of further understanding stress, it should be interpreted with caution.
In the technical or statistical standpoint, most studies on psychological stress were correlational in nature (only looking for links among variables). Hence, no “cause and effect” was established.
Although stress is associated with cardiovascular disease, it should not be interpreted as stress is the causing factor of cardiovascular disease.
It could be that stress is the cause of CVD, but for now, as per the evidence suggests, we cannot provide a solid conclusion. We can only associate stress with CVD.
But previous studies are useful enough to lighten the world. I hope that in the near future more physiological studies will be conducted to provide hard evidence on this matter.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.