Feeling Discrimination Can Hurt Your Heart
When people say discrimination causes a lot of “heartache” they may be more medically accurate than they think.
A new study by a study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago says stress could be causing coronary artery calcification in black women. Health Day News reports this:
The investigators found that the more discrimination the women felt, the more likely they were to have coronary artery calcification, a buildup of calcium in blood vessels that’s associated with atherosclerosis.
“We know from other studies in this area that stressful life experiences can have an effect on cardiovascular outcomes,” Tene Lewis, a health psychologist in preventive medicine at Rush, said in a prepared statement. “Discrimination appears to be a stressor that has particular relevance for the health of African-American women.”
The study included 181 middle-aged black women from the Chicago and Pittsburgh areas. The women completed a questionnaire that assessed their experiences of subtle discrimination, such as being ignored or treated with a lack of courtesy or respect.
“The women reported discrimination in the form of having poorer service in stores or restaurants, being treated as if they were less smart, or being treated as if they were dishonest,” Lewis said.
Lewis notes that discrimination is more subtle in the 21st Century. But there’s still this bottom line finding:”The study found that coronary artery calcification was present in 59.6 percent of the women and the more discrimination they reported, the more likely they were to have any calcification,” it reports.
This raises a question. If it’s eventually widely accepted that discrimination may be dangerous for your heart, does this mean we’re going to start seeing a rash of lawsuits charging that clients were physically impacted by discrimination? We suspect there at least some attorneys who are printing out this article right now…