20 Sep

Why Are Young Women More Stressed than Their Male Peers?

stress-womanStress. We all have it, most of us on a daily basis. From work and relationships to financial issues, stress can feel overwhelming on many days and completely all-consuming on particularly bad days. It’s well known that stress can impact your health in a number of ways, but this is especially true for young women struggling with heart disease. New research has just unveiled the startling proof that stress impacts women far more than their male peers.

The Research

In a study by Dr. Viola Vaccarino, chair of epidemiology at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, researchers gave 700 men and women, all of whom had heart disease, a mentally stressful public speaking assignment. Before, during, and after the speaking assignment, they measured each participant’s blood flow to the heart. Across the board, women under the age of 50 were four times more likely than men of the same age to have reduced blood flow to the heart in the stressful situation.

The Implications

This may seem like a random trend to study, but blood flow to the heart under stress is incredibly important to understand since reduced blood flow can lead to a heart attack. According to Vaccarino, “Younger women appear to be more vulnerable [than men and older women] to the effects of stress on their heart.” Since experts have long understood that young women are more likely to endure more serious outcomes after a heart attack than their male peers, it has never been clear why. Vaccarino hope that her research might shed some light on the mystery.

Overall, the researchers agreed that younger and middle-aged women juggle financial, family, and career responsibilities, and those with heart disease need additional supports to cope with stress efficiently. Since exercise is well documented to reduce the risk of psychological stress and heart disease, it’s the perfect solution for young women who want to minimize their chances of further heart problems.