The Connection Between Mental Health and Heart Health

Your heart is undeniably linked to your head—mentally, emotionally and physiologically. In many ways, this can be of benefit. However, there can be negatives associated with their connection too. Studies show that stroke survivors or those living with heart disease are at higher risk for anxiety and depression. The effects that poor mental health can have on the heart can be damaging. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Bayhealth Primary Care Physician Amita Jain, MD, shares how to not only care for your heart but your mental health, too.

  1. Increased awareness: Prevention can begin by simply knowing the probabilities. Many people don’t realize that their high stress is chronic or that they are battling depression. Awareness about the warning signs and symptoms can help someone recognize if that’s what they are experiencing. This allows them to then seek the help they need. “Finding healthy ways to diminish your stress or anxiety can make all the difference for your heart health,” shares Dr. Jain.
  2. Finding resources: With a diagnosis, like heart disease, a patient can often feel a sense of loss because they know their life is going to have to change. “Lifestyle changes due to a diagnosis can be a challenge but they aren’t insurmountable—seeking out the right outlets to fill a void in a previous routine is the right place to start,” says Dr. Jain. For example, if vigorous exercise can no longer be part of your daily life because of a heart condition, maybe you start making more time for meditation, long walks and stretching. Maintaining activity is crucial for your physical and mental health.
  3. Honest communication: Open up about how you’re feeling, mentally and physically, to your healthcare provider. “Following up consistently with a patient after a heart attack or stroke can help prevent declining mental health,” says Dr. Jain. Depression can often intensify because it goes unnoticed or unacknowledged.
  4. Take great care of yourself: Living a life you love doesn’t need to be extravagant. Find what brings you joy and do more of that. “Get plenty of sleep, exercise and time with loved ones,” suggests Dr. Jain. This will bring more positivity into your mind and ultimately, your heart.

Your heart is everything. To you, and to those you love. Treat it right by getting treatment for mental health issues. Your heart and your head deserve a fighting chance.

Article provided by Bayhealth