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Heart Health
Stress Management

Stress Linked to Poor Recovery from Heart Attack in Women

Younger women who have suffered heart attacks go through more stress than their male counterparts, and that could lead to a worse recovery, according to new findings by Yale School of Medicine researchers and their colleagues.

“Women tend to report greater stress and more stressful life events than men, potentially because of their different roles in family life and work, as compared to men,” said first author Xiao Xu, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine. “This difference in the level of stress may be an important reason for sex-based differences in recovery after acute myocardial infarction.”

According to a news release from Yale Medicine, to reach their conclusion Xu and her colleagues used data from the Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender Outcomes on Young AMI Patients (VIRGO) study, the largest prospective observational study of young and middle-aged women and men with AMI. VIRGO studied AMI patients 18 to 55 years old from a large, diverse network of 103 hospitals in the United States, 24 in Spain and 3 in Australia from 2008 to 2012.

They found that compared with men women had higher rates of diabetes, depression and cancer as well as greater financial strain and more family responsibilities.

Xu added, “Helping patients develop positive attitudes and coping skills for stressful situations may not only improve their psychological well-being, but also help recovery after AMI. Stress management interventions that recognize and address different sources of stress for men and women would be beneficial.”

The findings were published in the journal Circulation.

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