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Person’s reaction to stress determines his overall health

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Image source: mindscapecareer.com

New York: The way a person reacts to stressful events in life holds greater importance in terms of health as compared to the frequency with which one encounters it.

According to the researchers, the more negatively an individual perceives and reacts to a situation the more he/she may be at risk of developing heart disease.

The team wanted to find out whether daily stress and heart rate variability, a measure of autonomic regulation of the heart, are linked.

A potential pathway that links stress to future heart disease is a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system- a case of a person’s normally self-regulated nervous system getting off track.

“Higher heart rate variability is better for health as it reflects the capacity to respond to challenges,” said Nancy L Sin from Pennsylvania State University.

“People with lower heart rate variability have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death,” Sin added in the paper published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Depression and major stressful events are known to be harmful to health, but less attention has been paid to the health consequences of frustrations and hassles in everyday life.

The team analysed the data collected from 909 participants between the ages of 35 and 85, including daily telephone interviews over eight consecutive days and the results from an electrocardiogram.

During daily phone interviews, participants were asked to report the stressful events as well as negative emotions they had experienced that day.

The researchers found that participants who reported a lot of stressful events in their lives were not necessarily those who had lower heart rate variability.

No matter how many or how few stressful events a person faces, it was those who perceived the events as more stressful or who experienced a greater spike in negative emotions had lower heart rate variability- meaning these people may be at a higher risk for heart disease, the authors noted. (IANS)

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Childhood Maltreatment Strongest Risk Factor for Depression in Adulthood: Lancet

The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome

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Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression. Pixabay

Facing trauma in childhood can significantly change the structure of the brain, which may result in severe depression which could even be recurrent in adulthood, say researchers.

The results from MRI scan images suggest that both childhood maltreatment and recurring depression are associated with similar reductions in the surface area of the insular cortex, part of the brain that regulates emotion and self-awareness.

This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, which found childhood maltreatment one of the strongest risk factors for major depression in adulthood.

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Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the U.S. and is being closely monitored by health authorities amid rising suicides nationwide. Pixabay

“Given the impact of the insular cortex on brain functions such as emotional awareness, it’s possible that the changes we saw make patients less responsive to conventional treatments,” said lead researcher Nils Opel from the University of Munster in Germany.

The study included 110 patients aged 18 to 60 years. Of the 75 patients who experienced a relapse, 48 had experienced one additional episode, seven reported two episodes, and six experienced three episodes.

Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression.

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This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. Pixabay

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The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome.

Future psychiatric research should therefore explore how the findings could be translated into special attention, care and treatment that could improve patient outcomes, the study noted. (IANS)