Depression and Stress at Heart of Problems
Work stress, depression and lack of social support are leaving people at increased risk from coronary heart disease, according to a report to be published today.
Unhappiness is causing people to take up unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking, or turn to comfort eating and slumping in front of the TV - all major risk factors in developing the heart disease, the British Heart Foundation warned.
A third of people reported high levels of work-related stress, while 18 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men admitted to high levels of depression.
Statistics published by BHF have for the first time estimated the proportion of CHD deaths caused by different risk factors.
The report said it was difficult to estimate how many such deaths were linked to unhappiness or depression.
But research showed a patient who was severely depressed after a heart attack was three times more likely to have a second attack than other patients.
Other studies showed working in a stressful job with little control over work increased the risk of CHD by half.
The BHF has appointed Prof Andrew Steptoe as its first chair of psychology to study how stress may affect the heart.
Prof Steptoe said: 'Although we have made a great leap by showing that an unhappy or stressful life can lead to a higher risk of CHD, further research is vital to show how these findings relate to people on an individual basis.
'Research indicates that the way we cope with stress is also important. …