The results of a recent study suggest that for some people the body's reaction to stress may up their odds of developing high cholesterol. The findings of the study were reported in the November 2005 edition of Health Psychology.
The researchers tested 199 middle-aged adults over a period of 3 years. At the start of the study, the participants performed 2 moderately stressful computer- based tasks. Blood samples were taken before and after the tasks to measure any changes in cholesterol levels. The participants were then divided into 3 groups, based on their cholesterol responses to stress.
After 3 years, the participants had their blood cholesterol measured again. The results showed that those in the group with the greatest response to stress were the most likely to have high cholesterol. Even when other related factors were taken into account, the group with the highest stress response was 13 times more likely to have high cholesterol than the group with the lowest response to stress.