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An Underestimated Risk
A 2012 meta-analysis from the American Journal of Cardiology that followed subjects for an average of 13.8 years found that those who were chronically stressed had a 27 percent greater risk of coronary heart disease. Putting this in context, the study authors estimate that high perceived stress could be as risky for your heart as a 50 mg/dL increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol or smoking five more cigarettes per day. It doesn't help that stress may make many people crave fatty comfort foods or cigarettes, compounding risk factors.