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Cortisol tests predict heart disease risk

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Cortisol tests may help predict which patients suffering with heart conditions are at the highest risk of death, as new research has linked the hormone to increased mortality rates in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland that regulates blood pressure and helps keep blood sugar levels under control. It also regulates the body's reaction to stress and anxiety.

However, researchers found that patients with ACS who had the highest levels of cortisol were significantly more likely to die from their heart condition compared to patients with low cortisol levels.

Lead author of the study, Andreas Tomaschitz, said that the study would allow doctors to better predict which patients will require aggressive treatments.

"[These findings] suggest that cortisol might play an important role in worsening cardiovascular damage," he said. "Until now cortisol has been thought of as a non-specific stress indicator, but we may have to reconsider this."

Heart disease kills more individuals in the U.S. that any other any other disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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