You probably already know that maintaining good heart health necessitates a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the management of well-known heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. But did you realize that your brain also has an impact on your heart's health?
Researchers have increasingly discovered correlations between poor mental health and an increased risk of heart disease in recent years. This isn't unexpected, given how mental illnesses may impact your behaviour. If you're sad, for example, you're less inclined to exercise regularly or to consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
Furthermore, some mental health difficulties and mental health illnesses can cause physical changes in the body, which can increase cardiac risk in a variety of ways.
Long-term stress can raise blood pressure, decrease blood flow to the heart, lower the heart's pumping capacity, cause irregular pumping rhythms, and activate the blood's clotting system and inflammatory response. Surprisingly, studies suggest that persistent stress is worse for the heart than significant life upheavals. Women who cared for a handicapped spouse for at least nine hours a week had a greater risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease than women who did not have such duties, according to major research.
Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are traumatic childhood events such as being ignored, suffering physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or witnessing domestic violence. They may increase the chance of adopting health-harming habits like drug abuse.
Isolation from others
Men and women who live alone are more likely to suffer a heart attack or die unexpectedly from one, according to research. On the other hand, older individuals who have a strong social network are considerably less likely to die during a 10-year period than those who do not.
Anger and hostility
According to one review paper, those who are frequently furious are two to three times more likely than others to suffer a heart attack or other cardiac incident.
It's a two-way street when it comes to depression and heart disease. According to one review study, depression nearly doubles your chance of getting coronary artery disease. According to previous research, persons who already have heart disease are three times more likely to be sad than the general population. One out of every five people who have had a heart attack will develop depression. In those who have already had a heart attack, depression is an independent risk factor for another one. This might be due to the fact that depressed people are less likely to quit smoking, take recommended medicines, or exercise after a heart attack.
Having a stronger heart
There are things you can do to enhance your mental health and maybe your heart health if you're dealing with any of these concerns.
Keep your mind occupied. Brain-stimulating activities can help you enhance your mental health. Take up a new pastime, attempt a different walking route, or try a new activity to spice up your day.
Reduce your anxiety. Stress reduction is a significant challenge for almost everyone these days. Mindfulness meditation, which fosters self-awareness and a focus on the present, is one approach that might help control it.
Collaborate with an expert. A mental health professional may assist you in dealing with a variety of issues, including prior trauma. Talk therapy, such as behavioural therapy (which aims to change negative thought patterns), and medication are only a few of the treatment options available.
Improve your way of life. When you're sad or having emotional difficulties, it's easy to let a good diet and exercise go. Small, achievable daily gains, on the other hand, build up to greater overall health.