Stress related to asymptomatic heart disease

Hypertropic cardiomyopathy linked to stress related factors in new study.

What effect does stress play in your ability to develop a disease? A new study suggests that stress may play a significant role in developing a particular kind of cardiac disease.

This new study was published in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology led by Sakthivel Sadayappan. His study dealt with the question of why certain individuals with genes for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy did not develop the disease or show symptoms. His findings suggested stress may be a significant factor among those potential victims that develop this disease. This was the first study to reveal a correlation between stress and this particular disease.

 The method used in this study was taking mice with the genes for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and placing them in stressful environments in order to see whether they would develop symptoms, or otherwise stay symptom-free. What the researchers found was that the mice’s hearts became larger and had a harder time pumping blood. This is a typical presentation in patients who develop symptoms.

 Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is insidious in that it often leads to quick and sudden deaths. This is tragically demonstrated in many sudden deaths among athletes wherein hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of death amongst them. Unfortunately, this disease is hard to detect when it is asymptomatic and so it is not a matter of negligence in terms of getting medical checkups. Many athletes have regular checkups and no problems are detected.

The disease is described by the Mayo Clinic as being caused by substantial thickening of the heart muscle. This makes pumping blood to the body very difficult to do. It also may affect the cardiac electrical system which then causes the heart to develop deadly arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are any sequence of beats that your heart undergoes that differs from the normal rhythm. Some are harmless but many can be life threatening. Approximately 0.2 per cent of the population have this disease, but the density is increased in given regions of the world, such as in India.

This study suggests new stress factors that clinicians can take into consideration. People with genetic links to this disease may be at risk of developing symptoms under stress. Stress may induce high blood pressure which may in turn lead to the disease. People who find out they have this disease may or may not develop symptoms to this disease. The Mayo clinic states on their website that many patients live a long and full life with this disease. Knowing that stress may play a factor would help patients who find out they have this disease avoid developing symptoms or who have it, be able to control its effects.

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