According to Benjamin Flowers, the Harvard Medical school has been able to prove that high levels of stress can cause heart attacks. Certain parts of the brain prepares the human body for harmful experiences, and instructs bone marrow to produce more white blood cells, in preparation of being physically attacked. Prolonged stress can cause a similar reaction to occur, but because there is no actual damage, while blood cells form plaque in the arteries of the heart. Plaque clogs arteries, which increases the risk of heart attack.
- Scientists from Harvard Medical School believe that after more than three years of study, they have found out how high levels of stress causes a heart attack.
- The researchers found that chronic stress leads to a similar reaction; however, because there is no damage for the white blood cells to repair, they remain in the body and form plaque in the arteries of the heart.
- The results showed that those with higher activity in the amygdala had a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, and developed problems sooner, compared with those with lower activity. The heightened amygdala activity was linked to increased bone marrow activity and inflammation in the arteries, suggesting that it was causing the increased risk of heart disease.
“Lead author Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, said that the results highlights the possibility that reducing stress could produce benefits that extend beyond an improved sense of psychological well-being.”