Pent-Up Stress May Harm Health of Middle-Aged Women

Chronic stress is a leading indicator in garden-variety aches and pains for women as they approach middle age, according to long-standing medical research.

Swedish scientists collected data from fifteen-hundred middle-aged women over several years; they found that twenty-percent of their control group reported constant stress and anxiety for at least the past five years.  Smokers and singles between the ages of forty and sixty scored consistently higher in these categories.

Muscle and joint pain predominated, with over forty-percent of those who reported chronic stress in the research group.  A smaller percentage, twenty-eight-percent, reported either migrainal or gastro-intestinal complications from prolonged stress and anxiety.  The research was done by the University of Gothenburg, where the Sahlgrenska Academy has its headquarters.

The Sahlgrenska staff report that, after making adjustments for smoking, weight, and aerobic activity, there is a clear link between stress and anxiety and increased risk of material symptoms, including pain, migraine, and gastro-intestinal upset.

As reported in the International Journal of Internal Medicine, the research group dates back to the 1960’s.  Twenty-seven-percent of the group who reported constant strees developed pain symptoms and gastro-intestinal complications within the first twelve years of the study.  Fifteen-percent reported additional pain and/or gastro-intestinal upsets from their initial examination, also within twelve years.

The study is being hailed as a landmark work in the field of stress-related medicine.