Scientists explain stress & stroke link

Stress vs Stroke

Scientists have arrived at an explanation as to the correlation between chronic stress and heart attack and stroke.

The study co-authored by Matthias Nahrendorf of the Harvard Medical School in Boston explains that the pressure from stress leads to overproduction of white blood cells, which, in turn, get plastered inside the arteries, thus potentially blocking the blood flow.

Strained blood flow creates the potential for the formation of clots that block circulation or break off and travel to another part of the body.

Nahrendorf said white blood cells “are important to fight infection and healing, but if you have too many of them, or they are in the wrong place, they can be harmful.”

The researchers took as subjects medical residents working in an intensive care unit, who are, as a rule, subject to much stress.

They compared blood samples taken during work hours and off duty, as well as the results of stress perception questionnaires.

They found that excess white blood cells produced as a result of stress accumulated on the inside of arteries and boosted plaque growth.

“Here, they (the cells) release enzymes that soften the connective tissue and lead to disruption of the plaque,” said Nahrendorf.

“This is the typical cause of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke.”

Leave a Comment