Family Stress and the Heart

I know you don’t need the Danish to confirm what you’ve long suspected: family stress, particularly stress which involves our spouses and children, do directly impact the heart.

But a most recent Danish study avers that participants reporting a troubled or demanding relationship with a spouse had more than three times an increased risk for developing angina, which is both a warning sign and symptom of heart disease.

And those with the most stressful family relationships had the highest risk of developing angina.

Rikke Lund, MD, PhD, says it has long been known that positive social relationships are good for the heart. “We wanted to look at it another way and examine the impact of difficult social relationships on cardiovascular risk,” she said.

Having a worrisome or demanding relationship with a spouse or partner was associated with a more than 3.5-fold increase in angina risk, while a similar relationship with a child was associated with a twofold increase in risk.

The association was not quite as strong for other family members, and the impact of worries and demands involving non-family members was negligible.

Surprisingly, conflict with family members was much less strongly linked to angina risk than being in a worrisome or demanding relationship. People who reported having frequent arguments with a partner had a 44% increase in angina risk.

Time for a vacation, dear.

24. December 2010 by Ruth Folger Weiss
Categories: Family, Health Care, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment