Lipid Reactivity to Stress: I. Comparison of Chronic and Acute Stress Responses in Middle-Aged Airline Pilots

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Lipids increase during psychological stress, but no studies have compared the effects of acute and chronic stressors on lipid responsivity in the same individuals. One hundred middle-aged men (n = 92) and women (n = 8) were examined during high chronic occupational stress, low chronic stress, and acute laboratory stressors. In addition to measures of perceived stress and affect, an extensive battery of lipid and lipoprotein measures was undertaken at each time point. Most lipid parameters were significantly increased during the chronic and acute stressors, although the responses to the different stressors were not consistently associated. For example, significant correlations among the chronic and acute stress responses were apparent for the apoproteins, but not for total, low density lipoprotein, or high density lipoprotein cholesterol. The factors and processes regulating these variables during stress may be different during acute and chronic stressors.

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