Psychosocial stress can increase risk of cardiovascular disease

A new genetic finding from Duke Medicine suggests that some people who are prone to hostility, anxiety and depression might also be hard-wired to gain weight when exposed to chronic stress, leading to diabetes and heart disease.

An estimated 13 percent of people, all of whom are Caucasian, might carry the genetic susceptibility, and knowing this could help them reduce heart disease with simple interventions such as a healthy diet, exercise and stress management.”Genetic susceptibility, psychosocial stress and metabolic factors act in combination to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Elizabeth Hauser, Ph.D. director of Computational Biology at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute. Hauser is senior author of a study detailing the findings in the Oct. 1, 2014, online issue of the European Journal of Human Genetics.

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