News: Stress harms your heart as much as five cigarettes a day

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News: Stress harms your heart as much as five cigarettes a day

Exercising and eating a healthy diet may not be enough to keep your heart strong.

A new study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, shows that stress can increase risk of coronary heart disease by 27 percent.

"While it is generally accepted that stress is related to heart disease, this is the first meta-analytic review of the association of perceived stress and incident CHD," senior author Donald Edmondson told ScienceDaily.

To put it in perspective, Edmondson compared the increase in blood pressure to “smoking five more cigarettes per day.”

Given how harmful even casual smoking can be, this is bad news for those with high stress levels. But it’s also a reminder that managing stress is just as important as fitting in exercise and eating a healthy diet.

"The key takeaway is that how people feel is important for their heart health,”
first author Safiya Richardson told ScienceDaily. “So anything they can do to reduce stress may improve their heart health in the future,"

Are yours stress levels high? What do you do to relax and unwind?

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

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