June 16 (UPI) -- Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles, or UCLA, found no difference between men and women when it comes to stress as a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and stress increasingly recognized as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease.
The study, published June 15 in The American Journal of Cardiology, examined whether biomarkers such as the urinary stress hormones dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol were associated with increased calcium buildup in coronary arteries that is indicative of coronary heart disease.
Researchers tested to see if this relationship was stronger in women than in men, however, they found there was no significant difference between men and women.
The study consisted of 654 participants, 53 percent of whom were women, from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
Women on average had higher levels of urine stress hormones compared to men, but the link between stress and asymptomatic coronary heart disease was similar in both.
It was the first study to link urinary stress hormones and the buildup of plaque in the arteries causing coronary heart disease.
The study showed that urinary cortisol was a strong independent predictor of asymptomatic coronary heart disease and that dopamine was associated with a lower chance of having any coronary calcium.