For some people, the body’s reaction to stress may raise the odds of developing high cholesterol, the results of a new study suggest. Researchers in the UK found that healthy middle-age adults whose cholesterol rose in response to a stressful task were more likely than their peers without this increase to have high cholesterol several years later.
It’s been known that blood cholesterol can show a short-lived rise in response to stress, study co-author Dr. Andrew Steptoe told Reuters Health. The new findings, he said, suggest that these transient increases may predict long-term elevations in cholesterol.
A number of studies have linked chronic stress to a higher risk of heart disease, and it’s possible that stress-related changes in cholesterol contribute to this, according to Steptoe, who is based at University College London.
To see if stress-related spikes in cholesterol can have long-range effects, the researchers followed 199 middle-aged adults over 3 yearsThree years later, participants had their blood cholesterol measured again. Those in the group with the greatest cholesterol response to stress were the most likely to have high cholesterol.
Overall, 56 percent had a total cholesterol level that surpassed the cutoff for diagnosing high cholesterol, compared with only 16 percent of the group whose cholesterol levels had been least affected by stress.
Even when the researchers weighed other factors such as age, body weight and smoking, the group with the highest stress response was 13 times more likely than the group with the lowest response to have high cholesterol 3 years later.
They were also four times more likely to have high levels of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” form that contributes to artery-clogging plaques.The findings suggest that chronic stress can contribute to high cholesterol in some people, though the reason is unclear, according to Steptoe and Brydon.
According to Steptoe, it’s possible that such effects could be modified if people changed their conscious reactions to stress. SOURCE: Health Psychology, November 2005.
We already know that stress effects: depression, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, auto-immune disease, diabetes etc. Now we know that the elements that pre-dispose us to disease may be the beginning of the disease many years before. Controlling stress in all forms may be the best of all answers to good health. Thus stress from: Diet, Psychological, Social, Spiritual and Physical causes should be the first items to be controlled.