Stress of Toxic Relationships: A Risk Factor for Heart Disease in Women
Daily life stress and social strains may raise the risk of heart disease in women. Here's why Stressful Life Events That May Hurt Your Heart. Broken heart is a metaphor for the intense emotional—and sometimes physical— stress or pain . In relationship breakups, mourners may turn their anger about the rejection toward themselves. This can deepen the depression and cause. Most of us see the connection between social and physical pain as a as “stress cardiomyopathy,” but the press likes to call it “broken heart.
Of course, knowing that nearly everyone has experienced it doesn't make it any easier, but what might make it a smidgen more bearable is knowing that there are physiological explanations for feeling like you've been hit by a lorry.
You're basically a recovering addict US researchers put a group of people who had been dumped through a functional MRI machine to measure the flow of blood in their brain when they looked at photos of their lover.
They found that similar parts of the brain light up as to when somebody takes cocaine or nicotine, which they say "may help explain the obsessive behaviours associated with rejection in love". When we're in love, the "rewards" part of our brain is understandably quite active — we are constantly getting little "rewards" each time we're with our lover or they do something special for us.
But interestingly, this part of the brain takes a while to register that you've changed your relationship status to "single" and the neurons keep expecting a reward. This could explain why we often get a little obsessive following a break-up, making inappropriate phone calls, texting continuously and rocking up at our ex's home or workplace to confront them or beg for them back.
How Your Relationship Can Hurt Your Health - Health
We know it's not the best idea but the deep recesses of our brain are so hungry for a reward that logic falls by the wayside. Your brain thinks you're in physical pain You're not imagining the fact your whole body seems to be aching. Another brain scan study found that when spurned lovers view images of their ex and think about being rejected, the parts of the brain that light up when we feel physical pain — the secondary somatosensory cortex and the dorsal posterior insula — also become active.
On top of that, you experience a flood of the stress hormone cortisolwhich sends blood to your muscles prompting them to tense up so you're ready to "fight" the danger your brain senses is lurking. Trouble is, you're not fighting any sabre tooth tigers so you're instead left with tense muscles that can lead to headaches and a tight chest. A lot of this blood going to the muscles is shunted out of your digestive tract too, which can cause tummy troubles.
12 Ways Your Relationship Can Hurt Your Health
Women who had a composite score of five or more were considered to have a high level of stressful life events. Unfortunately, these type of stresses are often unavoidable and can occur in clusters. In this regard, the authors asked the following questions to understand daily social strain and stress. How many of the people who are important to you: Get on your nerves?What Causes Chest Pain When It's Not Your Heart
Ask too much of you? Do not include you? Try to get you to do things you do not want to do? Each of these questions was ranked from one none to five all.
If the composite score was seven or more, these women were identified as having a high level of social strain.
Why Love Literally Hurts – Association for Psychological Science
A low level of social strain was a score of four or less. Finally, the authors looked at specific environmental variables such as education level, annual family income, and marital status to see if these factors help explain the social strain and stressors.
What the authors found is important in understanding the influence of our environment and our heart disease risk: Women who experienced high levels of stressful life events developed coronary heart disease at a 12 percent higher rate than those with low levels. Women who reported high levels of stressful life events experienced stroke at a 14 percent higher rate than those with low levels.
After accounting for traditional heart disease risk factors, women who experienced high levels of stressful life events were only 5 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease. After accounting for traditional heart disease risk factors, women who experienced high levels of stressful life events were only 9 percent more likely to develop stroke.
These findings show how powerfully the stresses in our environment can influence our health even in the absence of traditional risk factors. This study tells us something that you may have already expected.
Our genetics, our environment, and our choices can influence our risk of heart disease and stroke. And it shows us how important both stressful life events and social strains can be. Often, the visits were prompted when the patient's loved ones recognized that the person had developed risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure. I believe this study tells us that if you are one of these people who are experiencing these stresses, or you know of a close friend or relative who experiences these stresses, you should know that if they persist, they are significant risk factors for heart disease.