Anxiety, Depression Increased Chances of Cardiac Arrest & Stroke

August 30, 2018  Source: Reuters 87

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A recent 5-year study on 221,677 individuals aged 45 and above devoid of having a stroke or cardiac arrest in their medical history, revealed that mental disorders like anxiety and depression could increase the chances of the occurrence of a cardiac arrest or stroke.

Men with extreme mental distress showed 60% increased chances of suffering a cardiac arrest and 44% raised the risk of getting a stroke. Whereas, women with extreme psychological stress displayed 24% higher chances of having a cardiac arrest and 68% heightened risk of experiencing a stroke.

Head author, Caroline Jackson of the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. said, “The stronger association between psychological distress and heart attack in men compared to women could be due to women being more likely than men to seek primary care for mental and physical health problems, thus partly negating the possible physical effects of mental health problems. Alternatively, it could reflect the known hormonal protection against heart disease in women since the study population included a large number of younger women,”

 “We did however find a strong association between psychological distress and stroke in women, perhaps suggesting different mechanisms exist between psychological distress and different types of cardiovascular disease in women,” she mentioned in an e-mail.

The study saw an incidence of 4573 cardiac arrests and 2421 strokes in total. The authors also remarked that other lifestyle habits such as low appetite, lack of physical activity, and smoking could individually affect mental health issues and cardiac problems.

It is also possible that symptoms of depression or anxiety directly affect the body’s physiology through mechanisms such as hormonal pathways, inflammatory processes in arteries and increased risk of blood clotting,” Jackson added. “It is vital that further research seeks to identify the underlying mechanisms so that we can better understand the link between mental health and subsequent physical health and inform intervention strategies.

By Ddu
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