Stress hurts women's hearts more than men's

A new study has found that stress may be more harmful for women's heart than it is for men's.

Washington: A new study has found that stress may be more harmful for women's heart than it is for men's.

Researcher from Duke University, Wei Jiang, who's also the study's senior author, said that normally when under stress, people fought back by pumping more blood to the body, and as per the data, women were not reacting that way as well as men were.

In their analysis, the researchers reviewed data on 254 men and 56 women who had a history of ischemic heart disease or decreased blood flow to the heart. Participants performed stressful tasks, such as describing an event that made them angry, while researchers monitored their heart function and other vital signs.

During times of stress, 57 percent of female participants experienced reduced blood flow to the heart, or ischemia, as compared to 41 percent of men. Ischemia is a prevalent component of cardiovascular disease and often the factor that leads to death.

In the study, women under mental stress expressed a greater increase in negative emotions and a greater decrease in positive feelings. By contrast, men had greater rise in blood pressure in response to mental stress, the data showed.

The data also found sex distinctions in blood platelet behavior. The aggregation of platelets could lead to a blockage that could cause a heart attack. Despite the use of medications designed to keep blood platelets from clustering together, the platelets of female participants under mental stress were still clumping to a greater extent than those of male participants.

The research is published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.