Heart Risk Factors and Stress

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Researchers at UCSF were so determined to test if their hypothesis regarding stress and chronic illness was on target, they studied a group of women caring for children seriously compromised by chronic illnesses and disabilities—talk about an incredible stressor!

They found that telomeres—those protective end caps stained yellow in the photo that seal off the ends of the blue-stained chromosomes—were significantly shorter in the moms most traumatized by their situations.

Now, telomeres, which are produced by the enzyme telomerase, have a lot of important functions. In addition to protecting the quality of the gene, they also regulate the division rate of the cells, which directly influences their lifespan.

So what is Nobel-worthy about this discovery? It represents the novel new idea that lengthening telomeres can prolong cell life. Hopefully the attention and acclaim this finding has received will spearhead further future funding that offers new treatment for diseases of aging such as cardiovascular problems, heart attacks and stroke, blindness, and neurodegenerative disorders.

So, whatever assuages your stress, be it meditation, T’ai chi, yoga, music, dance, fly fishing, or what have you, make it an important part of your day. Your very life may depend on it!

For more information on heart risk factors, visit www.drsinatra.com.

 

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