Researchers from the University of South Australia have found another reason to pay more attention to mental illness. It seems it may be closely associated with heart health. Their new study published in Biomedical Engineering links mental illness and fluctuating blood pressure, leading to cardiovascular disease and organ damage.
The study reviewed 12 studies on people with anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. Researchers found that mental illness significantly impacted blood pressure variations during the day regardless of age. It was also noted that in mentally ill people, their heart rate does not adapt to external stressors compared to those who are not mentally ill.
A change in heart rate is a good sign of health, contrary to what many people think. It should adjust to withstand environmental and psychological challenges. However, reduced heart rate variation (HRV) has been shown to be common in people with mental illness. This may indicate the body’s stress response is poor, increasing the negative effects of chronic stress.
Low HRV happens when a person’s body is in fight or flight mode. People who are easily stressed or those with chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and mental health problems, also have low HRV.
“The takeaway from this study is that we need to pay more attention to the physical impacts of mental illness,” said Dr. Renly Lim, lead researcher.
Taking Care Of Heart and Mental Health
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