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Researchers are making new strides in the field of cardiovascular health. The stress gene, 5HTR2C, has been found to link to an increased risk of heart attack.
This gene contains a variation in the DNA that was linked to a high bodily reaction to stress – increased amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. Studies show that men with this gene type produce twice as much cortisol than men without.
This recent study performed by the Duke University Medical Center led researchers to suspect that the higher risk of heart attack and death associated with the genetic variant in 5HTR2C is due to MMP9, a compound in blood that increases as cortisol levels in the body increase. This compound is responsible for making arteries more susceptible to bursting or clotting by softening arterial plaque, oftentimes leading to serious heart attacks and death.
It is the hope that this discovery will help doctors be better able to assess patient risk and provide a treatment strategy better suited to their risk for cardiovascular complications. Talk to your doctor about your blood pressure and overall heart health and risk factors to ensure you are on the healthiest path for your future.