Swedish scientists say that in nearly half of the 1,500 cases studied, long-term stress suffered by women leads to some form of physical complaint. The study, by researchers from the University of Gothenburg, involved tracking the lives of the women since the late 1960s.
The findings, appearing in the International Journal of General Medicine, focused primarily on stress. The researchers say the experience of stress was highest within the 40 - 60 age range, and those women who were stressed were more often single and/or smokers.
Among those women who reported stress, 40 percent had psychosomatic symptoms in the form of aches and pain in their muscles and joints, 28 percent suffered from headaches or migraines, and the same percentage also reported gastrointestinal complaints.
"Even when the results have been adjusted for smoking, BMI and physical activity, we can see a clear link between perceived stress and an increased incidence of psychosomatic symptoms," says researcher Dominique Hange. "The most important conclusion is that single women, women who do not work outside the home, and women who smoke are particularly vulnerable to stress. Here, we see a greater need for preventive measures from society."
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Source: University of Gothenburg