- by Dr. Sunil Dwivedi
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- Mar 24 2018
The link between Emotional stress and Heart Diseases
We know that living a stressful life proportionately increases the risk of heart diseases. And when one talks about stress, emotional stress is largely overlooked. People often misunderstand stress to be only physical and mental but it is not so. The varying crests and troughs of joy and sadness that you undergo in your daily life are definitely, albeit slowly, contributing to heart diseases.
The part of brain that deals with emotions like anxiety and fear and stress is known as amygdala. A study published by Harvard Health says that stress, artery inflammation and the risk of subsequent heart attack are directly related. Heightened activity in the amygdala are directly related to increased bone-marrow activity, inflammation in the arteries and a high risk of cardiovascular diseases.
People suffering from depression or pessimism have a higher risk of heart attack and sudden heart failure. People with chronic anxiety or those suffering from emotional trauma are also more prone it irregular heart rhythms beside increased chances of heart attack. The link between emotional stress and heart diseases is no longer a matter of speculation but is a definite reality.
Women at higher risk:
Studies have found that women are more often at the receiving end of this phenomena. Women are already at higher risk of psychological diseases and undergo emotional turmoil more often and intense as compared to men. Not only emotional and hormonal imbalances, but higher chances of women developing post-traumatic stress disorder and depression also puts them at a higher risk of serious heart diseases like atherosclerosis and heart attacks.
Worse than physical and mental stress?
Not just patients but even some doctors tend to overlook emotional stress, maybe because even less quantifiable. The worst thing surrounding emotional stress is that though physical and mental stresses can be tackled over a period of time by changing the type/length of work or stress causing agent, emotional stress is extremely hard to deal with.
There is no definite cure to people going through depression or having a “shocked heart” with overflowing emotions like anger/guilt etc. The sources of emotional stress tend to vary too unlike physical and mental ones and this makes it even more hard to contain or avoid.
It is therefore very important to manage emotional stress at all phases of life. Maintain a positive attitude no matter what, and try doing activities that relax you (exercise, yoga or even listening to calm music) and seek professional help whenever required. Keeping emotional stress at bay will significantly lower the risk of various heart diseases.
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