How Heart Diseases Are Linked to Mental Illness

If your mind can’t, then your heart won’t

Our state of mind says a lot about our actions, some helping us cut the phase short, others making our bodies worse.

A recent study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that adults who reported feeling poor mental health have higher rates of heart disease.

This can be due to a number of factors, including:

Stress: Stress can damage the heart in a number of ways. It can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can put a strain on the heart. Stress can lead to unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise, which are all risk factors for heart disease.

Inflammation: Mental health conditions are associated with chronic inflammation, which can damage the heart. Inflammation can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Medications: Medications used to treat mental health conditions can increase the risk of heart disease. For example, antipsychotic medications have been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Learn more: For individuals with chronic stress, it triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol, which raises blood pressure, increases heart rate, and constricts blood vessels.

Experiencing this through prolonged periods can lead to physiological changes that contribute to developing or worsening heart diseases.

To make matters worse, reversing the effects requires much more effort from individuals when compared to preventing it in the initial stages.

A way out: Healthy lifestyle is the key to a healthy heart. The negative effects of mental diseases on one’s body can be prevented and reversed.

These strategies will help you achieve the goal:

Focus on regular physical activity, a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Engaging in regular exercise releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress.

Find healthy and effective ways to manage stress. Engage in stress-reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or hobbies that bring you joy.

Cultivate and maintain strong social connections. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups for emotional support. Sharing feelings and experiences with trusted individuals can provide a sense of belonging and reduce the risk of isolation or loneliness, negatively impacting mental and heart health.

Aim for sufficient and quality sleep. Lack of sleep can increase stress, impaired mood, and a higher risk of developing heart disease. Establish a consistent sleep routine, create a comfortable environment, and practice good sleep hygiene habits.

Incorporate mindfulness practices and relaxation techniques into your daily routine. This can include activities like mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, or engaging in hobbies that promote relaxation and stress reduction.

To stay one step ahead, one needs to regularly check their mental well-being, which means recognising early warning signs and consulting a professional.

If one is diagnosed with heart disease, it can lead to psychological distress, including depression and anxiety. This can affect the quality of life and trigger fear of future cardiac events.

Thus, addressing mental health concerns is essential for heart disease well-being and optimal management.