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Question:

How important is stress as a risk factor for arterial blockage?

I am a 52 year old woman and I have just had my second heart stroke. I have two stents and never smoked. I've done a lot of aerobic exercise such as running and trekking. I am not overweight. No significant cholesterol. Hereditary patterns, of course: uncles and grandfathers. The question is about the importance of stress in everyday life in the blockage of arteries. Thank you.     

submitted Paula from Madrid, Spain on 11/22/2012

Answer:

Patrick J. Cook, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Patrick J. Cook, MD    

I assume by your comment, "heart stroke", you mean a heart attack. Stress may be contributory to some degree, but usually less than the conventional risk factors. You can't change your parents, but CAN be super aggressive in terms of lipid management, blood pressure control, and I'd also make sure glucose levels are normal. Continue exercise when okay'd by your cardiologist. I'd also do regular stress testing.

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Updated December 2012
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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