Prolonged stress and the risk of cardiovascular disease is widely known and studied, but the exact risk and prevalence are not yet studied. This study aims to investigate the association between stress-related disorders and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

This is a population-based, sibling-controlled cohort study that included a total of 136,637 patients with stress-related disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress reaction, and adjustment disorder; no history of cardiovascular disease. The study also included 171,314 unaffected full siblings and 1,366,370 matched unexposed people. The primary outcome of the study was the hazard ratios for cardiovascular diseases.

During 27 years of follow-up, the incidence rate of cardiovascular disease among exposed patients, unaffected full siblings, and unexposed individuals was 10.5, 8.4, and 6.9 per 1,000 person-years, respectively. In sibling-based comparison, the hazard ratio for cardiovascular disease was 1.64, with the highest subtype ratio being for heart failure (6.95). The hazard ratios for CVD were higher during the first year of diagnosis and then became lower in the subsequent years. Cardiovascular events due to stress-related disorders were more strongly associated with patients aged 50 and more than the ones aged less than 50.

The research concluded that stress-related disorders are closely associated with multiple types of cardiovascular diseases, especially in patients aged 50 years or more.