In a six-year study, Dutch researchers found that people with high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, had a five-fold risk of death from cardiovascular disease, the BBC reports. The body produces cortisol to help itself recover from stress and regain stability, but at high levels it’s been linked to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, like metabolic syndrome (symptoms include obesity and high blood pressure) and atherosclerosis (when fatty deposits build up in the arteries). In this study, researchers studied 860 people over age 65 and measured cortisol levels in their urine. The third of the subjects with highest cortisol had a five-fold increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, they found.
Stress hormone linked to heart disease
Cortisol levels increase risk of death: study