Washington: Mental stress affects the cardiovascular health of men and women differently, according  to a new study which suggests that treatments for heart disease should be more gender-based.

"The relationship between mental stress and cardiovascular disease is well known," said the study's lead author Zainab Samad, assistant professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center. "This study revealed that mental stress affects the cardiovascular health of men and women differently. We need to recognise this difference when evaluating and treating patients for cardiovascular disease," Samad said.

 Stress affects heart differently in men and women
Representational Picture

0Researchers from the Duke Heart Center examined 254 men and 56 women diagnosed with heart disease, and who had participated in a study looking at the effects of medication on patients with heart disease induced by stress.

They found heart health was different between the, even though they were all affected by stress. After each participant underwent different stressful tasks, including a math test, a mirror tracing test, and recalling situations that made them angry, researchers threw them onto the treadmill, 'Medical Daily' reported.

During the mental stress tests, and resting periods before and after the treadmill exercise, the researchers collected blood samples, and measured blood pressure and heart rate. They found that while men had more changes in blood pressure and heart rate in response to the mental stress, more women experienced myocardial ischemia, decreased blood flow to the heart. Women also experienced increased platelet aggregation, which is the start of the formation of blood clots, more than men.

Women compared with men also expressed a greater increase in negative emotions and a greater decrease in positive emotions during the mental stress tests. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.