Mental Health Can Positively or Negatively Impact a Person’s Health & Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Colorful negative single word list on wooden blocks. Master your mind concept from stress, anxiety, confused, fear, worry and negativity. Mental health awareness concept.A newly released scientific statement from the American Heart Association is highlighting the relationship between mental health and heart disease. Published in the journal Circulation, the statement helps physicians summarize ways to improve psychological health for people with, and at risk for, heart disease.

Previous research has demonstrated that negative psychological factors, personality traits, and mental health disorders can negatively impact cardiovascular health. Mind, body, and heart are interconnected, and studies have shown that both negative and positive psychological attributes can be associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.


Negative psychological health conditions can include depression, anxiety, anger, chronic stress, pessimism, and dissatisfaction with one’s current life. These conditions have been shown to be associated with biological responses such as irregularities of heart rate, digestive complaints, rise in blood pressure, inflammation, and reduced blood flow to the heart.

Research has also shown that those who tend to suffer from negative psychological health are associated with health behaviors that are linked to increased risk for heart disease and stroke. These include smoking, poor physical activity, unhealthy diet, and obesity. They are also more likely not to take medication as prescribed.

The statement released by the American Heart Association suggests regular mental health screening for people with or at risk for cardiovascular disease. It has been found that psychological therapy and mind-body programs can lead to better cardiovascular health. These programs include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, collaborative care management approaches, stress reduction therapy, and meditation.

The statement also noted that both the cumulative effect of daily stressors and exposure to traumatic events could also increase heart disease and stroke risk. It was found that patients’ self-report of work-related stress and general stress was associated with an increase of up to 40% risk of developing or dying from heart disease.

The Effects of Positive Psychological Health


The statement was not all bad news, as it also found an association between positive psychological health and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Those who showed characteristics such as happiness, optimism, gratitude, life satisfaction, and mindfulness were more likely to have positive health outcomes. These include lower blood pressure, lower glucose, less inflammation, and lower cholesterol levels.

Chair of the writing committee for the statement, Glenn N. Levine, M.D., FAHA said, “Wellness is more than simply the absence of disease. It is an active process directed toward a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. We must strive to reduce negative aspects of psychological health and promote an overall positive and healthy state of being. In patients with or at risk for heart disease, health care professionals need to address the mental Wellness of the patient in tandem with the physical conditions affecting the body, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, chest pain, etc.”

By taking care of mental health problems, physical health can also be improved. The statement made by the American Heart Association helps to shed some light on the relationship between cardiovascular health, in particular, mental health. By bringing these relationships to the forefront, physicians may be better equipped to help patients lower their risks.

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.


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