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heart health Archives - Suzanne Wallach

The Connection Between Anxiety and Heart Health

Heart Health

Anxiety is characterized “by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil and includes feelings of dread over anticipated events.” It the body’s normal biological and psychological response to stress. However, chronic anxiety can negatively impact your heart health, and vice-versa. According to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center there is a clear link between long-term anxiety and the onset and progression of adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Anxiety prompts the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, that act on the same parts of the brain that regulate cardiovascular functions. Studies suggest that the high levels of cortisol from long-term stress can trigger common risk factors for heart disease such as increased blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Prolonged anxiety can alter one’s stress response, causing inflammation in the body, which can damage the linings of the artery and can lead to a build-up of coronary plaque. Individuals with high levels of anxiety are at increased risk of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, fatal ventricular arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death. Research has found that “the relationships between anxiety disorders and cardiac outcomes likely are mediated by both behavioral and physiologic mechanisms, including autonomic dysfunction, inflammation, and platelet aggregation.” Anxiety is associated with the following heart disorders and cardiac risk factors:

  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia): Prolonged anxiety can interfere with one’s normal heart function and increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Increased blood pressure: Chronic anxiety can cause coronary disease or heart failure and weaken the muscle.
  • Decreases heart rate variability: Chronic anxiety may lead to a higher incidence of death after an acute heart attack.

Anxiety can act as an obstacle for those recovering from heart disease. People with heart disease, for example, are twice as likely to have heart attacks when they also have anxiety. Additionally, anxiety following a major cardiac event can impede recovery and is associated with a higher morbidity and mortality. The relationship between anxiety and heart health is complex and bidirectional, meaning that anxiety can impact heart health, and heart health can also influence anxiety levels.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

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