“20 minutes of classical and 2 minutes of rock music per day.” Can you imagine that kind of prescription from your doctor to decrease your heart attack risk? But this might be something to consider according to the recent study from Athens Medical School in Greece.
Atherosclerosis is currently the leading cause of death for people over the age of 45 and the top killer of men over the age of 35. It is also known as hardening of the arteries and is the top cause of heart attacks and strokes. The condition isn’t completely understood but certain factors have been clearly shown to affect a person’s likelihood of getting the condition, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. But what can be done to reduce the risk of getting the condition?
There are a number of ways to combat atherosclerosis but the best method is to work at preventing it before it starts. While lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, losing weight and getting exercise can also be vitally important, a new study has shown that something as simple as listening to music can be a big help.
The study was conducted by the 1st Cardiology Department of the Athens Medical School in Greece and here is the full results of their work. The study involved twenty healthy people in their early twenties who were studied on three separate occasions listening to 30 minutes of music of either classical or rock, while the third period they listened to no music at all. The aim was to look at aortic stiffness, also known as arterial stiffness. This is a leading part of atherosclerosis where the walls of the arteries lose their elasticity due to repeated stress.
What the study discovered was that listening to music that the person enjoyed reduced the aortic stiffness for the duration they listened because their pulse rate decreased. It was also shown that listening to classical music had a prolonged effect on any person that went beyond the period of time that they listened to the music.
In summary, by listening to music that a person enjoyed, they slowed their pulse, were relaxed and were exerting less stress on their body. This in turn relieves the stress on the arteries from this particular problem and can help reduce the risk of a heart attack.
The current medical thinking on atherosclerosis is that it starts with injury to the lining of arteries in the body. One of the top causes of this is high blood pressure because this causes stress to these linings and allow chemicals in the bloodstream to further damage it. Blood cells are released to combat this damage but, for reasons unknown, they attach to the walls of the arteries and stay there. This leads to an accumulation of cholesterol and other fats that causes the walls of the arteries to thicken, called fibrous plaque.
Over a period of time, this plaque continues to build up and reduces the space in the artery for blood to flow. The plaque can also break off from the artery walls and close the artery completely, leading to heart attack or stroke.