There may be a link between mental and heart health. Learn why mental health and its connection to the heart should be a concern for women.
For a long time, heart health was seen as just a physical condition affected by lifestyle choices. Now, health professionals are discussing how mental health affects physical health, in particular, heart health.
“It’s not just being unhappy. It’s having biochemical changes that predispose people to have other health problems, including heart problems,” said Dr. Barry Jacobs, a clinical psychologist.
How Mental Health Affects The Heart
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Additionally, mental health issues are found at a higher rate in women than in men.
Depression, anxiety, and stress can affect the body’s health. In fact, mental health issues and depressive thoughts activate the “fight or flight” response in the nervous system.
Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health, said that stress increases adrenaline and cortisol hormones, which affects blood pressure and heart rate. Furthermore, when the body is in a constant state of stress, meaning long-term high cortisol levels, it negatively affects the body’s processes, including sleep, anxiety, and weight management.
If the mind stays in “fight or flight” mode, it can also lead to high blood pressure, an elevated heart rate, and insulin resistance. These lead to diabetes and heart disease.
Additionally, researchers found that women are more prone to heart disease and heart conditions after experiencing emotional stress. Women also report more anxiety and depression across heart disease patients and the general population.
Positivity Goes A Long Way
There are several ways to tackle heart disease and mental health issues, but did you know being positive is one of them? A study published in 2019 concluded that optimism can decrease the risk of cardiovascular problems and even lower the risk of mortality across all causes.
Even though it can be hard, keeping a positive, hopeful mindset can help offset mental health issues and heart problems. Other things you can do to stay healthy include:
- Eating healthy foods, which helps your body feel good.
- Getting regular exercise, which releases endorphins, the feel-good chemical.
- Getting a good night’s rest, which affects your health, mood, and body functions.
- Doing things you love, like listening to fun music, spending time cuddling with your pet, or taking a walk in nature.
- Practicing gratitude, which is a way to practice being optimistic and can help you look at things from a more positive lens.
- Talking to a therapist or friend can help relieve your mind, alleviate stress, and improve your mood.
In the end, keeping a check on your mental health can benefit not only your mind’s health but also your heart health. Since women are at a higher risk for depression and anxiety, keeping a healthy heart is a top priority.
Working on both your mental and physical health doesn’t have to be hard. Small steps make big changes, and getting extra help to stay healthy can go a long way.
Consider taking L-arginine Plus to help your heart stay healthy. It boosts circulation by dilating blood vessels, which can help with keeping arteries from getting blocked and helps with blood flow. Try L-arginine Plus if you want to experience these benefits and more.