How Fear Of Terrorism May Put You At Risk Of Long-Term Disease

Terrorist attacks like the one in Paris this Wednesday can create a climate of national anxiety — and such a climate may come with health risks that we’re not considering, according to recent research from a team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The everyday fear and stress of living with the threat of terrorism has been shown to elevate one’s resting heart rate, which can lead to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and even death.

In the largest statistical analysis of its kind, Hermona Soreq, a professor of molecular neuroscience, examined a group of 17,380 healthy adult Israelis and found that she was able to predict which participants would exhibit an unusual increase in resting heart rate, based on how fearful they were of potential terrorist attacks.

And the findings don’t apply only to Israelis or mass attacks from insurgent groups, Soreq notes.

“We believe that the definition [of] ‘fear of terror’ represents general anxiety, and therefore it is reasonable to extend the implications of our results also for other countries and other types of anxiety,” she told The Huffington Post in an email. “However, this must be tested in separate populations and proven in independent studies.”

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