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Yale Study Examines Impact of Stress on Vascular Health

December 03, 2020
by Elisabeth Reitman

For patients diagnosed with peripheral artery disease, or (PAD) mental and physical wellbeing often intersect. An analysis published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that nearly 20 percent of patients with PAD, a condition caused by caused by fatty deposits in the arteries, experience high levels of stress after their diagnosis.

To understand how chronic stress interacts with and impacts outcomes in PAD, authors from VAMOS (Vascular Outcomes Program) Kim Smolderen, PhD, Carlos Mena-Hurtado, MD, and their colleagues interviewed patients who were newly diagnosed with PAD to determine their perceived level of stress overtime. The majority of study participants also had hypertension, diabetes, or a history of heart disease, which added to their disease burden.

The participants completed a PAD questionnaire to assess the severity of symptoms, mobility, treatment satisfaction, and quality of life. The authors used a perceived stress scale to assess the patient’s wellbeing during 6-months following their diagnosis. Chronic stress was associated with worse recovery after a 12-month period. Patients with chronic stress were also more likely to avoid seeking care due to the financial costs.

The findings suggest that since stress is a modifiable risk factor, incorporating holistic care programs, cognitive behavioral therapy, or meditation could improve the health status of high-risk patients with PAD.

The VAMOS research program’s mission is to serve communities by improving vascular health outcomes. For more information visit their website.

Submitted by Elisabeth Reitman on December 03, 2020