Experiencing stress is common, but did you know that feeling anxious may increase your risk for poor heart health? Learn about the connection.
The leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, with symptoms ranging from angina to heart failure. While it’s definitely important to eat healthily and exercise regularly, a factor that is often overlooked is mental health. According to studies, middle-aged men who constantly worry may have a greater risk of heart disease as they age.
“Our findings indicate higher levels of anxiousness or worry among men are linked to biological processes that may give rise to heart disease and metabolic conditions,” says doctor Lewina Lee, lead author of a recent study and assistant professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine.
Lee adds that “these associations may be present much earlier in life than is commonly appreciated – potentially during childhood or young adulthood.” Lee also notes that most participants were white men.
Researchers tracked the relationship between anxiety and cardiometabolic disease risk factors over time. Moreover, they analyzed data on participants in the Normative Aging Study, which includes 1,561 men (97% white).
At the time, the men didn’t have cardiovascular disease or cancer. They also completed baseline assessments of neuroticism and worry, which were marked on a scale from 0 to 9. Furthermore, they were asked how often they were worried about each of 20 items.
“Neuroticism is a personality trait characterized by a tendency to interpret situations as threatening, stressful, and/or overwhelming,” says Lee. “Individuals with high levels of neuroticism are prone to experience negative emotions – such as fear, anxiety, sadness and anger – more intensely and more frequently.”
Lee continues: “Worry refers to our attempts at problem-solving around an issue whose future outcome is uncertain and potentially positive or negative. Worry can be adaptive, for example, when it leads us to constructive solutions. However, worry can also be unhealthy, especially when it becomes uncontrollable and interferes with our day-to-day functioning.”
In addition to their baseline assessment, the men were given blood tests and physical exams. These were given every 3 to 5 years until they left the study or passed away. Researchers also measured 7 cardiometabolic risk factors during follow-up visits, including systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, obesity, fasting blood sugar levels, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), a marker of inflammation.
Chronic stress can lead to unhealthy behaviors that increase the risk of developing heart disease. For example, some people may deal with anxiety by smoking, binge drinking, or eating fried or fatty foods.
For this reason, it’s important that you take care of your body as well as your mind when it comes to heart health. However, if you need a boost to your system, you can take supplements like L-arginine Plus.
As a daily heart supplement, it can effectively promote your circulation and overall health, so you have one less thing to worry about. If you’re ready to support your heart health, then learn to manage your anxiety and take L-arginine Plus.