INSOMNIA, HEADACHES, palpitations and chest pains are some of the symptoms that more and more people are complaining of to their doctors, which they believe are associated with the economic crisis.
The President of the Portuguese Cardiology Foundation (FPC), Manuel Carrageta, said that he believed there was a link between the economic crisis facing Portugal and the rest of the world and a wide range of stress-related conditions that could cause heart problems.
In an interview with the news agency Lusa, Manuel Carrageta said that he had already followed cases of people that had “lost everything” with the crisis, some of them had their life savings with one of the United States’ institutions that had failed.
He also told of cases of people who had been made redundant because their company belonged to a United States group that simply closed down its Portugal operation from one day to the next.
A case in point is the financial company Citibank, which last week announced the closure of its mobile operation in Portugal whereby commission-based staff visit companies to sell the bank’s financial products.
“In times of crisis, the body feels in danger and begins a prolonged fight or flight adrenaline reaction as if it were under attack,” said Manuel Carrageta.
It is a mechanism that man has always had since pre-history which helped him flee from dangerous animals or prepare to fight for survival.
Hormones that are released into the blood stream during situations of great stress and fear divert blood to the arms and legs in preparation for fight or flight.
“But since people can’t escape the phantom of financial crisis, the rerouting of blood to the extremities and increased heart rate puts additional stress on the heart and vascular system, increasing the risk of a heart attack,” he said.
This phenomenon was made worse during periods of stress because people adopted unhealthy habits such as drinking too much, smoking and eating salty and sugary comfort foods.
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