Stressed About the Holidays? Cardiologists Discuss Stress, Heart Disease, and TM
There are undoubtedly times when life seems stressful—and for many women, holidays with all they entail can be some of those times. On top of an already busy schedule, juggling the parties, buying gifts, shopping and food preparation, disharmonious family dynamics, over-eating, missing sleep and exercise—or in some cases, the loneliness felt from no holiday plans—can be overwhelming.
In an article on WebMD, Katherine Kam explains that cardiac problems spike during the holidays. She writes, “Your heart may leap with delight at the electronic gizmo or emerald bracelet that you’ve just unwrapped from under the Christmas tree. But you can’t say the same for that nasty holiday surprise known as the ‘Merry Christmas coronary’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah heart attack.’”
And a 2016 Time magazine article stated. “For more than a decade, researchers have documented the fact that more people tend to die of heart-related disease around the Christmas and New Year’s holiday than at any other time of the year…. The holidays are a stressful time for many, since family, social and financial obligations multiply, which can contribute to higher blood pressure and aggravation of heart disease risk factors.”
Stress is caused by an overload on our physiology and it can create physiological and psychological damage if unchecked. When stress accumulates, all sorts of physical damage may be the result, but the highest holiday price tag you pay may be your heart’s health.
Stress and women’s hearts
The relationship between stress and heart disease in women has become obvious in recent decades; virtually everyone has experienced stress and it’s well understood that it has an adverse effect on health.
Cortisol is a stress hormone best known for its involvement in the fight or flight response. Scientists are not sure whether, under stress, women produce more of it than men—but they do know that once the process begins, women recover more slowly. Researchers have found that women’s stress levels at work remain elevated and more likely to spill over into non-work hours. Marital and family stress experienced by women is even more likely to contribute to cardiovascular disease than work stress.
Women are less likely than men to be tested or treated for heart problems. Women have more heart attacks that are not diagnosed, a higher number of repeat heart attacks, and a greater risk of stroke after heart attacks than men do.
Cardiologists speak out
Over 400 peer-reviewed published studies on the TM technique have shown remarkable benefits for women including significant strides in the reduction of stress and heart disease. In a survey of cardiologists by TM for Women, we found that the Transcendental Meditation program is endorsed for its preventative and curative benefits.Abraham Bornstein
As a Board-Certified Cardiologist and Fellow of The New York Academy of Medicine in the Division of Evidence-Based Medicine, I have reviewed and statistically analyzed the literature available on Transcendental Meditation which, I find, shows efficacy as both a preventive as well as treatment methodology for coronary heart disease. Transcendental Meditation is associated with statistically significant decreased hypertension and atherosclerosis, clinical improvements in patients with established heart disease, decreased hospitalization rates, and improvements in other risk factors including reduced stress and even decreased smoking and cholesterol. These findings cannot be generalized to all meditation and stress reduction techniques.Lourdes Garcia Mollinedo
MD; Professor; Cardiologist, Cardiology Hospital of the National Medical Center Siglo XXI, Mexico City:
TM restores cellular physiology, awakens the main organizers of the body and ensures order and correct functioning of cells. The practical implication of this mechanism is to lower arterial pressure, reduce glucose and lipid levels, decrease cardiovascular risks and death from cardiovascular problems. TM is a cost-effective and cost-saving health intervention with positive economic impact for the individual, for society and for healthcare systems.Satinder Swaroop
MD, FACP, FACC, FSCAI; Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California Irvine School of Medicine; Fellow American College of Physicians, Fellow American College Of Cardiology, and Fellow Society Of Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions:
Modern women have more issues with their heart health as compared with their predecessors. Many thoughts are being given to this cause. One of the factors may be that modern society is now paying more attention to the women’s health issues. Secondly, most modern women are not only involved in taking care of their families but also are working at various outside jobs. They are being exposed to a dual stress. TM is known to provide tremendous health benefits. Research has shown TM can help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress hormone levels. I am sure a regular practice of TM can markedly improve the heart health of modern women.Suzanne Steinbaum
MD, DO Preventive Cardiologist, Author, Media Spokesperson, and Director of Women’s Cardiovascular Prevention, Health and Wellness at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She’s done fellowship training in both Preventive Cardiology and Cardiology. She’s been awarded a New York Times Super Doctor, and a Castle and Connelly Top Doctor for Cardiovascular Disease.
In concluding, I want to relay that research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that Transcendental Meditation practice reduces heart disease and stroke by 48%—no other meditation technique has been found to produce such extraordinary effect. It’s obvious that a significant reason for this benefit is TM’s ability to reduce stress, increase resistance to stress, and cause faster recovery from stress.
Buy yourself an early gift by taking the TM course of instruction and avert the usual holiday pressures this Winter and from now on. Contact us now and we’ll connect you with a certified TM teacher in your area who can answer your questions.
About the Author
Janet Hoffman is the executive director of TM for Women Professionals in the USA.