The National Institute of Mental Health in 2019 showed data that indicated that almost 51.5 million adults living in the U.S. were experiencing some kind of mental health challenge. And with the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected so many in the U.S., it is now estimated that 40% of adults are experiencing a mental health challenge or a substance abuse disorder. The AHA has now published information that relates to the link between cardiovascular health and overall health, and psychological wellness.
The authors of the information started their work by studying negative psychological health and the connection it may have to cardiovascular disease. Their work included studying research into traumatic and chronic stress, anxiety, pessimism, anger, hostility, and depression.
The author’s analysis of the overall data indicated increases in blood pressure readings, reduced blood flow to the heart, heart rate irregularities, and inflammatory markers which are all linked to the above mentioned mental conditions or traits.
People who have negative conditions or similar traits that affect their mental health are more likely to experience type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, weight issues and high blood pressure. The team also discovered that these particular people had a higher likelihood of engaging in a variety of behaviors which will negatively affect their health such as being inactive, smoking, not taking prescribed medications and unhealthy diets.
The team also looked at a variety of studies in regards to how cardiovascular health is affected by positive psychological characteristics. Participants in the studies who indicated sense of purpose, greater optimism, mindfulness, emotional vitality, life satisfaction, resilience, gratitude, and well being had a much lesser likelihood of having cardiovascular disease or stroke and they also had reduced mortality risk.
People who indicate a positive status in regards to their mental health were more likely to show better glucose control, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and less inflammation. The people who reported a healthy mental status had a higher likelihood of engaging in behaviors that are beneficial such as adhering to prescribed medications, not smoking, engaging in high levels of physical activity, visiting their healthcare professional on a regular basis, and engaging in eating habits that are heart healthy.
Analysts also looked at how interventions that center around psychological symptoms or conditions might impact cardiovascular and overall outcomes of health. The research included interventions such as promoting coping skills, reducing stress, and cultivating a positive state of well-being.
They discovered that these particular studies showed that engagement in body/mind programs and psychological therapy led to greater cardiovascular health and wellness in general. Effective programs that emphasize psychological health include psychotherapy, therapies for stress reduction, meditation, and collaborative approaches in care management.
When it comes to people who are at risk or have heart disease, healthcare providers should address the patient’s mental health wellness in combination with all physical conditions that affect their body such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, chest pains and more.
And while there is volumes of research data which does reflect a link between negative psychological health and the risk of cardiovascular diseases, the team believes there is plenty of evidence that shows a tangible link between the body, the heart and the mind.
To view the original scientific study click below
Psychological Health, Well-Being, and the Mind-Heart-Body Connection: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association