LEIDEN, Netherlands, Sept. 11 (UPI) — Dutch researchers say their studies suggest death from cardiovascular disease can be linked to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
In a study that followed 860 people over the age of 65 for six years, those with the highest levels of cortisol had five times the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, the BBC reported.
The human body produces cortisol to recover from stress and regain physiological stability.
But very high levels have been linked to risk factors for cardiovascular disease and accelerated atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries.
“Stress is already associated with an increased risk of heart disease and this study throws up more evidence about the role of cortisol,” Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said.
“However, there are other chemicals in our body besides cortisol which play a part when we’re stressed out” she said. “So although this study helps, there is still a lot left to learn.”
The study, conducted by the University Medical Center at Leiden in the Netherlands, was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
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