Heart diseases are common. More prevalent is the myth that the root of all heart problems is physiological. The truth is that habits such as drinking, smoking, eating fatty foods as well as lack of adequate exercise raises the risk of elevated blood pressure and consequently heart attacks. However, experts now stress that psychological problems like depression can also increase the risk of heart attacks.
Studies have revealed how nagging mental health issues can trigger cardiovascular disorders. A 2014 Canadian study suggested that patients with a mental illness were twice more likely to suffer a stroke or develop a heart disease than the general population. The study also revealed that people who use medications for their psychiatric disorders are more vulnerable to heart disease or stroke than those who do not.
Across the globe, the “World Heart Day” is observed on September 29 every year, making it a point to remind people to take care of their hearts. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart problems are the leading cause of death for both the genders in the country. About 630,000 people die of a heart disease each year. The CDC also says that every 40 seconds, an American has a heart attack. Heart ailments cost the U.S. about $200 billion each year in lost productivity, health care services and medications.
Mental illnesses and heart diseases
Dr. Katie Goldie, the lead author of the study listed a number of reasons that account for this negative association. After analyzing Canadian patients with mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc., and their medicines, her team found that often people with such disorders adopted habits that increased the risk of such problems. Further, they found that the reason their medications contributed to the problem was that often they led to weight gain and obstructed the body’s natural cycle to break down fats and sugar. Added to all this was the problem of stigma associated with mental illnesses that prevented people from talking about their problems and seeking help.
Since psychological disorders can cause ailments such as heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases, people with mental illnesses should seek medical treatment as early as possible. Mental disorders are largely prevalent among people across the U.S. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adult Americans suffers from a psychiatric disease during any given year. These figures when viewed in the light of potential heart patients emphasize the need for people with mental illnesses to get their hearts checked.
While mood disorders are the third major cause of Americans flocking to hospitals and mental health care centers for necessary treatment, the fear of backlash and discrimination refrains many from sharing their problems with others, let alone seeking expert advice. The fact that most Americans deprive themselves of medical interventions or behavioral therapies that can free their minds of unnecessary clutter also indicates the enormous risk they face regarding heart problems.
Treating the mind well for a healthy heart
Research shows that about 50 percent of people with heart disease experience at least one episode of depression in their life. In fact, individuals with clinical depression are twice as more likely to have a heart attack even 10 years after the first depressive episode. Besides, it has been found that happy individuals have robust levels of fibrinogen and cortisol in their blood, making them less prone to heart-related ailments.
Treatment is the key to dealing with mental disorders such as depression and severe anxiety. If you or a loved one is suffering from any mental health disorder, it is necessary that timely treatment be meted out to prevent exacerbation and consequent adverse effects on the heart. Consult Sovereign Health for treatment at its mental health rehabilitation centers in California. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-973-7164 or chat online with one of our experts to know about our mental health facilities in California and other parts of the U.S.