Did Stress Kill Michael Jackson?

Did chronic stress kill Michael Jackson? We won’t know for sure until final autopsy results are released, probably several weeks from now, but given the nature of Michael Jackson’s long and tortuous career, it may well have played some role in his death.  A pop sensation since 9 years old, he’s been working hard all his life, and Michael held himself to impossibly high standards. Along with his international fame came lawsuits and a criminal trial alleging sexual abuse of children.  Although he was acquitted of these charges, the legal proceedings took a toll on him, causing him to move his family to Bahrain. There were also financial concerns, with reports that the Jackson empire had lost 400 million dollars. He sold his beloved home, Neverland Ranch, in November 2008 to prevent foreclosure. And Michael was in preparation for what was seen as a major comeback, with 50 sold-out concerts in London this year.

An Executive Statement from the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute states that: “Chronic stress sets the stage for, or increases susceptibility to, acute events of coronary artery disease.” Likewise, Dr. Christopher Cannon, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told ABCNews.com that stressful situations “definitely”increase the risk for cardiac arrest. “Increased adrenaline levels and sympathetic nerve signals can increase the risk of arrhythmia and sudden cardiac arrest,” he said.

Click below for more information on Stress and Cardiac Disease:

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Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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