A Study Found That Experiencing a Mentally or Physically Abusive Relationship at a Young Age May Affect Your Heart Health Later in Life

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Emily Eckstein, PysD, LMFT spoke with Well + Good on how abuse in intimate relationships has long-term effects on your heart. The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study began in 1983 and has recently released findings that intimate partner violence in early adulthood is linked to heart disease and stroke later in life.

A new study has found a startling connection between intimate partner violence and heart health. Intimate partner violence is defined as physical or mental abuse from an intimate partner, which occurs in the US approximately 20 times per minute. This shocking statistic has implications far beyond immediate physical and emotional harm, as researchers have discovered that the effects of intimate partner violence can manifest in heart health years down the line.

Dealing with violence can be a highly stressful and damaging experience that can have long-term negative impacts on the body. When in a situation of sustained stress, cortisol levels increase and the body enters into a heightened state of fight-or-flight. This chronic release of cortisol leads to inflammation which is linked to a range of serious health conditions. So how you avoid the situation?

According to Emily Eckstein, PysD, LMFT, one tactic is to be aware of what may be coming. “There can be a grooming aspect to violence that’s coming. This can include isolating you from others, or controlling what you can and can’t do. Significant shifts in independence are a huge sign of trouble ahead,” says the vice president of regional operations for Lightfully Behavioral Health in Beverly Hills.


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