“This job is killing me” is not a statement of jest. It is a desperate plea of outright sincerity.
Stress, anxiety, depression — all have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. But can interventions to help people cope with stress positively affect longevity and decrease risk of dying? The results of a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine would imply the answer is an encouraging “yes.”
Constructively dealing with stress is easier said than done, but it would seem logical that if we can reduce our psychological and social stressors we might live longer and delay the inevitable wear and tear on our vessels. This study proved that one such intervention, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for patients who suffered a first heart attack, lowered the risk of fatal and nonfatal recurrent cardiovascular disease events by 41 percent over eight years. Nonfatal heart attacks were almost cut in half. Excitement may be dampened by the fact that all-cause mortality did not statistically differ between the intervention and control groups, but did trend towards an improvement in the eight years of follow up.
Definitely less suffering. Maybe less deaths.
The authors state that psychosocial stressors have been shown to account for an astounding 30 percent of the attributable risk of having a heart attack. Chronic stressors include low socioeconomic status, low social support, marital problems, and work distress. Emotional factors also correlated with cardiovascular disease include major depression, hostility, anger, and anxiety. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles*
“I need you to do me a favor,” my nurse asked me at the end of our day on Friday.
“Sure,” I answered. “What do you want?”
“Please have a better week next week,” she said with a pained expression. “I don’t think I can handle another one like this week.”
It was a bad week. There was cancer, there was anxiety, there were family fights, there were very sick children. It’s not that it’s unusual to see tough things (I am a doctor), but the grouping of them had all of us trudging home drained of energy. Spent.
I think this is one of the toughest thing about being a doctor (and nurse, by my nurse’s question): The spending of emotional reserves. I’m not physically active at work, yet I come home tired. I don’t have to be busy to feel drained. It’s not the patients’ fault that I feel tired. They are coming to me to get the service I offer to them, and I think I do that job well. The real problem is in me. The real problem is that I care. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*
Nobody is in the hospital these days feeling good. Regulations have made it so sick people are hospitalized and not-so-sick people are usually outpatients. People who are horizontal are there to have procedures, take heavy duty meds, rest and, hopefully, get better.
Hospitals have increasingly put in sophisticated television systems so you can be in bed and distracted and entertained. But that is not restful for everyone. Here’s an example from this past weekend that stands out:
Mark Dantonio, the coach of the Big Ten’s Michigan State Spartan college football team, was diagnosed with a heart attack right after last week’s game. Boom. He was hospitalized. Boom. He had a stent put in to unblock at least one artery. This past Saturday he was still in the hospital resting and recovering, right? In the hospital, yes. Resting, no! Are you kidding? Keep the coach down during the big game against Wisconsin, a Big Ten rival? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*
So I’ve been thinking a lot about stress lately.
Obviously, it’s because I’m in one of those work/personal periods where the word comes in all capital letters and my dreams seem to be caught on a continual loop of taking-an-exam-in-a-class-I-forgot-to-attend-all-semester (and yes, I’ve been out of school for 26 years now)/realizing-I-just-bought-a-new-house-and-have-to-move/or, finding-that-I-have-10-stories-due-tomorrow (for the newspaper at which I haven’t worked in years).
This latter dream comes closest to my own situation at the moment given that I find myself with just a wee bit too much work for the time allotted (ok, maybe a lot too much work). I’m coping — going to bed later, getting up earlier, reaching out to a couple of writer friends for help) but it nonetheless has my cortisol and norepinephrine hormone production on overtime.
Which brings me to the point of this blog. Your health on stress. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine, Health Care, and the Writing Life*