Experts: People ‘More Likely’ to Suffer Heart Attacks During Presidential Elections

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Experts: People 'More Likely' to Suffer Heart Attacks During Presidential Elections

Research from Massachusetts General Hospital has claimed that people are at a “significantly higher heart attack risk” during presidential elections and other periods of social or political stress.

The study, presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session, examined stress sensitivity based on genetics as a primary driver of acute coronary syndromes (ACS).

According to the press release, such symptoms include heart attacks and other “serious conditions where the heart is suddenly deprived of blood supply,”

Of the 18,428 Mass General Brigham Biobank participants, 1,890 developed ACS between 2000 and 2020.

The study noted that participants’ stress sensitivity was measured by their neuroticism polygenic risk score (nPRS).

The stressful periods, which included five days after the presidential elections and 10 days surrounding Christmas Day, made up 3.2% of the observed timeline.

71 ACS cases took place during stressful periods, compared to 1,819 during control periods.

Meanwhile, those with a high genetic stress sensitivity had a 36% higher risk of ACS, researchers found.

Those with high genetic stress, including anxiety or depression, had three times the risk.

“High nPRS, indicating elevated genetic susceptibility to stress, mediates ACS risk during periods of socio-political stress,” the study authors wrote as a conclusion.

“A multifaceted approach to [cardiovascular disease] prevention may benefit.”

Fox News reported:

Lead study author Shady Abohashem, M.D., instructor of cardiovascular imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said that while the numbers are “striking,” the results overall are not surprising since anxiety and depression alone have been associated with a substantial risk for heart attack regardless of genetics.

“So, if you have both conditions, you would expect a substantial increase in your risk,” he said.

Abohashem and his fellow researchers found that about 25% of ACS cases were due to anxiety and depression.

Abohashem added that the impact of genetic susceptibility on heart attack risk could be a major factor for cardiologists to consider.

He suggested that implementing cardiovascular risk screenings could help identify those people at most risk.

“Based on that identification, we could develop targeted intervention, or maybe preventive strategies, that could help us protect those people from developing heart attacks in the future,” he added.

Researchers are now working to discover how lifestyle modifications can benefit people with a high genetic risk for stress.

Abohashem advised Americans to manage stress through effective outlets like exercise or yoga as the 2024 election approaches.

American Heart Association medical expert and cardiology director at The Ohio State University, Dr. Laxmi Mehta, also commented on the study.

“This is an interesting study that further supports the data of the mind-heart connection,” said Mehta, who was not involved in the research.

“It highlights the importance of mental health and its impact on overall health, including the heart.”

Mehta noted that the “retrospective nature” of the study “limits the ability to show a direct causal relationship between mental health conditions.”

The cardiologist also stressed that the study “reinforces whole-person preventative care.”

“The mind-heart connection is strong, and this study highlights that not only our bodies, but also our minds, need rest and care,” she said.

“The public needs to be aware of the impact social and political stress has on us, that it is OK to take a break from these stressors, and also that it is good to learn more about interventions like yoga, exercise, and mindfulness.”

He also urged doctors to advise patients on the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Essential 8,” key measures to maintaining heart health.

The eight steps include:

Eating better

Being more active

Quitting nicotine products

Getting healthy sleep

Managing weight

Controlling cholesterol

Managing blood sugar and maintaining healthy blood pressure

READ: Experts Claim Not Reading Mainstream Media Causes Heart Attacks

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