By Katy Siwirski

For many years, doctors thought the connection between mental health and heart health was strictly behavioral. Chemical factors that cause mental health issues can trigger heart problems. There is a growing belief that there is a biochemical connection between mental health and heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. Nieca Goldberg, M.D. states that stress can increase hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and can impact your blood pressure and heart rate. These factors work in both directions. Having heart disease can cause depression and anxiety. It’s more
complex than not wanting to eat or drink anything. The individual doesn’t have the energy to get out of bed and go to appointments, and complete other daily tasks needed to regain a good physical health.

There are a variety of effects that heart disease has on those who suffer from it. According to the British Heart Foundation, 77 percent of those with heart disease have felt anxious from their disease. Nearly one third of people said their condition has affected their ability to work. Depressed patients with heart disease have death rates twice as high as those who do not suffer with similar issues. Depression isn’t the only factor linked to heart complications. There are also links with anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. If you put a patient through the procedures needed to ease cardiac problems, it can worsen psychiatric symptoms due to the additional stress factors.

Despite all the trauma and stress factors, the most important thing to know is that there is help out there for people who are suffering with these issues. If you are suffering from any factors of depression or anxiety, do not be afraid to seek help. You may feel alone, but I promise there is somebody out there that can relate and help you in your situation. If you have a family history of cardiac problems, speak with your doctor about steps you can take to ease possible complications. Visit www.heart.org for additional information on the human heart.

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