Here at EraseDisease we often talk about how important attitude and emotions are when it comes to your heart health. Stress, depression, anxiety and a host of other negative emotions can wreak havoc on your health and wellbeing. A new study in the Journal Circulation Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes is shedding some additional light on why stress and depression in people with coronary heart disease creates a perfect storm that can increase the risk of death.
Stress and heart health
According to Time.com, patients with intense stress and depression or nearly 50 percent more likely to die or experience a heart attack as a result of heart disease than those with low stress or depression. Essentially, if your mind and body is stressed and your heart is depressed you have a much higher chance of dying from heart disease.
The study looked at nearly 4500 individuals, as well as previous research done on depression, stress and heart disease. The researchers found that it is the combination of stress and depression, often linked together in heart disease patients, that leads to death rather than one or the other.
This study followed these thousands of patients for nearly 6 years. According to the time article, 6.1% of study participants had both high stress and intense symptoms of depression. Researchers said the results suggest that doctors may want to consider additional message to treat heart disease that include interventions to treat stress and depression.
How stress and depression impacts the body
When the body is under stress it goes through the fight or flight process. Your heart rate accelerates, your blood pressure sky rockets and do you have shortness of breath. When you’re under high amounts of stress for long periods of time your body starts to settle in to this cycle of high cholesterol, tense muscles, accelerated heart rate and overall poor health.
Many times stress and depression or common leave associated with heart surgery and heart disease recovery. Unfortunately it is a perfect cycle of destruction. As a heart disease patient, it is your responsibility to bring up stress and depression with your physician to get things under control.
Reducing Stress and Depression
Unfortunately, stress and depression are common side effects of living with heart disease. They are also quite often based on chemical reactions within the body. And so, in order to combat stress and depression, it’s important that you talk to your physician.
However, there are natural alternatives to prescription medications, which include yoga, meditation, exercise, diet, walks, the great outdoors, even laughter and dancing. All of these things have been clinically proven to improve mood and beat back stress and depression.