For several reasons, the concept of stress has played a much more important role in ideas about cardiovascular disease (CVD) among laymen than among experts. On a theoretical level, stress is more difficult for health care practitioners to define and assess than widely accepted coronary risk factors such as physical activity, tobacco smoking, serum cholesterol and blood pressure. It is also believed to be more difficult to deal with from a societal point of view.
However, research has confirmed the importance of stress as an independent risk factor in the incidence and the course of CVD. This paper surveys the major studies covering several aspects of stress and cardiovascular disease.