Elevated Stress Hormones May Develop Higher Blood Pressure Risk, Health News, ET HealthWorld


Washington [US]: A study of over 400 adults with normal blood pressure showed that those who had high stress hormones detected in their urine were more likely to develop high blood pressure over the next 6-7 years.

The results of the study were published in the journal “Hypertension”. Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol were also linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke.

Studies have shown that cumulative exposure to daily stressors and exposure to traumatic stress can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A growing body of research refers to the mind-heart-body connection, which suggests that a person’s mind can positively or negatively affect cardiovascular health, cardiovascular risk factors, and the risk of cardiovascular events, as well. as the cardiovascular prognosis over time.

“The stress hormones norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine, and cortisol can increase with stress related to life events, work, relationships, finances, etc. And we have confirmed that stress is a key contributor to risk. ‘hypertension and cardiovascular events,’ said the study’s author. Kosuke Inoue, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Epidemiology at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan.

Inoue is also affiliated with the Department of Epidemiology at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Previous research has focused on the relationship between stress hormone levels and hypertension or cardiovascular events in patients with existing hypertension. However, studies of adults without hypertension were lacking,” he said. declared Inoue.

“It is important to examine the impact of stress on adults in the general population as it provides new information on whether routine measurement of stress hormones should be considered to prevent hypertension and events. cardiovascular, ”added Inoue.

Study subjects were part of the MESA Stress 1 study, a sub-study of the Multiethnic Atherosclerosis Study (MESA), a large study of risk factors for atherosclerosis in more than 6,000 men. and women from six American communities.

As part of the MESA 3 and 4 reviews (conducted between July 2004 and October 2006), white, black and Hispanic participants with normal blood pressure from the New York and Los Angeles sites were invited to participate in the substudy. MESA Stress 1.

In this substudy, researchers analyzed the levels of norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine, and cortisol, hormones that respond to stress levels.

Hormone levels were measured in a urine test overnight for 12 hours. The substudy included 412 adults aged 48 to 87. About half were female, 54 percent were Hispanic, 22 percent were black, and 24 percent were white.

Participants were followed for three more visits (between September 2005 and June 2018) for the development of hypertension and cardiovascular events such as chest pain, the need for an artery opening procedure or a seizure. heart disease or stroke.

Norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine are molecules known as catecholamines that maintain stability throughout the autonomic nervous system – the system that regulates involuntary functions in the body such as heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. .

Cortisol is a steroid hormone released when one is under stress and is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which modulates the stress response.

“Although all of these hormones are produced in the adrenal gland, they have different roles and mechanisms for influencing the cardiovascular system, so it is important to individually study their relationship to hypertension and cardiovascular events,” said Inoue. .
Their analysis of the relationship between stress hormones and the development of atherosclerosis revealed:

1. Over a median follow-up period of 6.5 years, each time the levels of the four stress hormones doubled was associated with a 21% to 31% increase in the risk of developing hypertension.

2. During a median follow-up of 11.2 years, there was a 90% increase in the risk of cardiovascular events with each doubling of cortisol levels. There was no association between cardiovascular events and catecholamines.

“It is difficult to study psychosocial stress because it is personal and its impact varies for each individual. In this research, we used a non-invasive measurement – a single urine test – to determine whether such stress could help identify people needing additional screening to prevent hypertension and possibly cardiovascular events, ”he said. declared Inoue.
“The next key research question is whether and in which populations increased stress hormone testing might be helpful. Currently, these hormones are only measured when hypertension with an underlying cause or other illnesses related is suspected, “Inoue continued.

“However, if additional screening could help prevent hypertension and cardiovascular events, we might want to measure these hormone levels more frequently,” Inoue added.

One of the limitations of the study is that it did not include people with hypertension at the start of the study, which would have resulted in a larger study population.

Another limitation is that the researchers measured stress hormones only through a urine test, and no other stress hormone test was used.
The co-authors are Tamara Horwich, MD; Roshni Bhatnagar, MD; Karan Bhatt; Deena Goldwater, MD, PhD; Teresa Seeman, Ph.D.; and Karol E Watson, MD, PhD.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, the Barbara Streisand UCLA Women’s Health Program, the National Institutes of Health, the UCLA Toffler Prize, and the International Foundation Fellowship. Honjo.


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