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Baylor students study how stress effects the heart

Posted at 5:15 AM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 06:15:39-04

WACO, TX — Stress - it happens to the best of us. Students at Baylor are studying the different kinds of stress and the effects it has on our most vital organ, the heart.

There are two different types of stress that these students are looking at; exercise stress - the good kind, and psychological stress - the bad kind.

"We're really trying to understand the way the heart responds differently to the two kinds of stress and what about a person makes them a greater risk of developing disease," assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience, Annie Ginty said.

They asked for volunteers to partake in the study, going through a series of tests to monitor the stress levels they experience.

"So the way you respond cardiovascularly to doing a simple math test in a lab can predict if you're going to die from disease," Ginty said.

Adaline Webb is getting her undergraduate degree in neuroscience. She loves being able to study at Baylor because of opportunities like this.

"I'm super interested in the relationship between the different kinds of stress in exercise and psychological in that a lot of times they look the same cardiovascularly," Webb said.

Not only will this study show what stressers are increase cardiovascular disease, but it can help the students then focus on the bigger picture.

"Guide us towards different types of interventions we can do for people who struggle with different types of health issues," Webb said.

Although there are many different types of stress there are ways to combat the stress as well.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health you should first recognize the signs of your body's response to stress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol and other substance abuse. Talk to your doctor and get a proper health screening, get regular exercise just 30 minutes walking a day can help quite a bit. Setting goals and priorities and trying a relaxing activity can help as well.

These students are conducting the same study on a bigger scale in the fall, so they'll need many more volunteers. If you would like to participate, all you have to do is fill out a quick survey on their website.

Anyone who fills out the eligibility screener will be entered into a raffle for $25. Each volunteer that participates in a 4 hour lab session will receive $75. Participants will also receive their fitness level, BMI, percent body fat and bone mineral density for free.