In the United States, hospital stays for cardiovascular diseases almost doubled in the two days following the 2016 presidential election in which Donald Trump was elected.
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 was not good news for some Americans. Two days after his election, hospital stays for cardiovascular diseases, both strokes and heart attacks, have more than doubled. This was the finding of American researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health and Kaiser Permanente, one of the world’s largest non-profit medical organizations. They published their results on October 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
More heart attacks than strokes
The results showed that the rate of hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases in Southern California in the two days following the 2016 election was 1.62 times higher than in the two days before the election. “This is a wake-up call for all health professionals to pay more attention to how political campaign stress, rhetoric, and election results can directly impact health,” said David Williams, professor of public health at the Harvard-Chan School and co-author of the study.
Hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease rose 61 percent in the two days following the 2016 U.S. elections. Specifically, the number of heart attacks rose by 67% and the number of strokes by 59%. “In our diverse patient population, which includes all of Southern California, we found that the risk of heart attack increased after the 2016 elections regardless of gender, age, and ethnic/racial group,” added Matthew Mefford of Kaiser Permanente and lead author of the study.
A chain reaction
The influence of daily stress on cardiovascular accidents is proven. A study published in The Lancet on 11 January 2017 found that daily stress increases cardiac risk. For example, an increase in stress is associated with 1.6 times higher risk of cardiovascular events. Researchers have suggested that this is due to a chain reaction in our body. Everything starts in the amygdala, which is located in the brain, and as a result of stress increases its activity. This causes a signal to be sent to the spinal cord to produce white blood cells, which are then sent to the arteries. They then accumulate in the form of plaque and cause atherosclerosis. This inflammation then leads to cardiovascular events.