Why stress gets the better of women, not men

Last Updated: Monday, September 26, 2011 - 15:40

London: Women suffering severe stress can develop heart disease, cancer and arthritis while men suffer no such illness from the same, scientists believe.

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco discovered that post-traumatic stress could lead to a dangerous increase in the immune response in women – which in turn triggers inflammation, leading to such conditions as cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

Blood was taken from 67 people, 34 of whom had post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, with the others being a control group.

They found no evidence of increased immune activation among the men in the test. But the stressed women showed significant evidence of immune activation compared to the women without the disorder.

“We know that people with PTSD have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, which are associated with chronic inflammation,” the Daily Express quoted UCSF Professor Thomas Neylan as saying.

“Previous studies grouped men and women together, which gave incon- clusive results. This is the first time that it’s been shown that men and women respond differently. We do not know why,” he said.

“These results are telling us some- thing about how PTSD could increase the risk for disorders like arthritis cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other diseases of ageing,” he added.


First Published: Monday, September 26, 2011 - 15:40

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