With the U.S presidential election demonstrating unforeseen results thwarting all expectations of a landslide democratic win by the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, tensions are running high in all American households whether it be in a Democratic or a Republican’s home. Regardless of the nature of one’s political preference, it can be said that history may repeat itself with an increase in the incidence of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes.
A study conducted during the aftermath of the 2016 presidential elections found an increased incidence of strokes or heart attacks with almost twice the number of average cases of such events. Such reports of increased numbers of heart attacks during a widespread panic are not limited to only elections. In fact, an increased incidence of heart attacks had also been recorded during the two months after the 9/11 attack.
The 2020 US presidential election is fraught with anxiety due to the delayed reporting of the results, and unprecedented early results which have shown Donald Trump to be the current favorite for the 2020 elections. This can be a particularly big blow to all Democrats who had been quite sure that the next American president would be one of their own preference.
As results were being reported late into the morning, many anxious Americans may have had a restless night but more importantly, the stress of the whole wait may have activated the flight or fight response seen in stressful situations. Activation of the sympathetic nervous system can narrow the blood vessels, increase the heart rate, and thereby increase the stress on the cardiovascular system. In people with a known history of high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, or other comorbid conditions, the risk of developing acute stenosis of cardiac blood vessels can be alarmingly high. Clogged blood vessels or previously stenosed blood vessels with atherosclerotic plaques may be completely occluded as blood vessels narrow further unable to supply the increased demand of the heart, precipitating a heart attack or a stroke depending upon the location of the clogged vessel.
With Donald Trump announcing an early victory despite millions of votes yet to be counted, and not to mention the variety of conflicting information from different news outlets each having their own account of the election results, all eager American citizens and even the International community are looking at an exciting couple of days as the results can still swing either way.
It is imperative for people with such known risk factors for cardiovascular diseases to be wary of the risk of developing a heart attack or a stroke during moments of anxiety, stress, or excitement. It is absolutely essential to maintain a calm attitude towards any unexpected outcomes from the upcoming election results, remembering that while elections are an important matter they also do come and go every four years but your health doesn’t have such a rinse and repeat pattern. However, in an unfortunate event that you do have the warning signs of a heart attack or a stroke such as chest pain or difficulty in speaking, moving your limbs, etc then you should immediately seek emergency help as in cardiovascular events, time is everything.