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How Important Is Mental Health For Your Heart Health?

Heart diseases and mental health disorders are two major health concerns for people around our country, and the world. After years of research, it has been understood that your heart and mental health are more deeply connected than you understand. Read on to know more about how your mental health can affect your heart health.

What you should know:

Why mental health is important for your heart?

Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are linked with high blood pressure and spikes in heart rate. They can also lead to a reduction in blood flow to your heart, thus causing cardiovascular diseases.

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On the other hand, patients with existing heart diseases also are at a higher risk for mental illnesses. According to a study in the Annals of Behavioural Medicine, up to 30 percent of people living with cardiovascular diseases experience depression. Sometimes, the medication for heart diseases might also lead to depression.

It is not all negative though. Good mental health can also be a sign of strong cardiovascular health. Being in a positive mindset can not only avoid issues like elevated heart rate and blood pressure, but it also helps your feel calm and mindful.

How do different mental health disorders affect your heart?

Different mental health disorders can affect your heart in different ways. Here are some of the common mental health diseases and some of the early heart disease symptoms you should be wary of:

  1. Depression – While there is no evidence expressly stating that depression can cause heart attacks, people with depression have a 36% higher risk of a heart attack.
  2. Anxiety – Anxiety and its symptoms like panic, phobia, and worry can increase your risk of heart diseases. Such psychological distress for 4 years can cause coronary heart diseases for the next 12 years.
  3. Bipolar disorder – In youngsters with bipolar disorders, there is a higher risk of accelerated atherosclerosis and early coronary heart diseases.
  4. Schizophrenia – Patients with schizophrenia have a significantly higher risk of a heart attack. Statistically, it can lead to an early death from cardiovascular diseases by 10 years.
  5. PTSD – Constant stress of frequent episodes of PTSD can quickly lead to coronary heart diseases which can again lead to early mortality.

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How to improve your heart health and mental health?

The first and most important thing to do when you experience a depressive episode, it to consult a mental health professional. You should also consult a cardiologist to understand if your mental illness is having a lasting negative impact on your heart.

You should also consider, making certain lifestyle changes that help improve your mental health:

  • Avoid smoking,
  • Reduce your alcohol intake,
  • Follow a heart-healthy diet
  • Stay connected with your loved ones

If you are diagnosed with heart disease and a mental illness, follow-up care from professionals in the form of counselling and check-ups is important in helping you stay healthy.

Find out the effect of your mental health on your overall physical health here. For more fitness or nutrition related advice, visit Activ Living.