According to scientists, your mental state can have a significant effect on your heart health. This article examines the connection between your mental well-being and your heart’s ability to function.
Can Stress Affect Your Heart Health?
In one study, depression and anxiety sped up the development of heart risk factors such as high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Another study discovered that chronic stress was linked to the development of heart disease and clogged arteries.
Dr. Glenn Levine said there are clear connections between psychological health and cardiovascular disease. He also said these studies contribute to a growing body of data on how negative psychological health can increase the risk of heart and brain disease.
How Were The Studies Conducted?
For the first study on mood and heart health, researchers reviewed data on more than 71,000 adults gathered between 2010 and 2020. They discovered that people diagnosed with depression and anxiety developed a new heart health risk 6 months earlier than people without a mood disorder. The accelerated development of heart risk factors also accounted for about 40% of the connection between mood disorders and major heart events.
In their findings, the researchers noted that those genetically predisposed to stress developed their first heart health risk factor a year and a half earlier than those without higher genetic risks. Dr. Giovanni Civieri, the study’s lead author, said that genetic analysis supporting the clinical findings was intriguing and provided further confidence in the results.
The second study examined nearly 2,700 adults with no existing heart disease participating in a Dallas heart study and were monitored for an average of 12 years. Researchers discovered that stress was linked with a 22% increased risk of plaque buildup in the arteries and a 20% overall increase in heart disease risk.
What Do Researchers Recommend?
Researchers said stress can directly affect physical well-being and cause people to make poor lifestyle choices that increase their heart health risk. Dr. Ijeoma Eleazu, a stress study researcher, said there is a mind-heart connection, and taking care of your mind can also improve your physical health.
She also said more patients must discuss their stress levels with their physicians. Dr. Eleazu said physicians must conduct screenings for a high-stress burden in their patients.
New studies have shown that stress, depression, and anxiety can increase your chance of developing heart risk factors. You should consult your doctor on effective stress relief methods, including meditation, physical exercise, and good nutrition.