Watching scenes of fists flying over an LCD monitor during a holiday sale made me wonder about stress, and how one can maintain a holiday spirit at a stressful time of year. According to Stedman's Medical Dictionary, it's stress, not the holidays, that make the body react to "forces of a deleterious nature that disturb its normal physiologic equilibrium." That sounds bad.While I'm a fan of UpToDate, I was unable to find any references to stress in the patient information section. The INTERHEART Study, published in the Lancet, is freely available here.
There is extensive research that confirms the harmful effects of stress when it occurs continuously with out the relaxation phase. In the international INTERHEART study, patients with a first heart attack reported significantly more stress in financial, home and work-related situations than the control studies. In another study of 1055 medical students who were followed for 36 years, it was found that those who had a higher anger response to stress had higher risk of developing premature heart disease (before age 55). Even exposure to traffic has been implicated. (Uptodate.com has more references if you are interested.)
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