The new study finds a direct role of mental stress, frustration, and anger in heart failure and other heart-related conditions. The complete findings are published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure.
Heart failure is a deadly cardiovascular problem that could affect health by damaging the heart. It is resulted by the low blood supply to the heart which is much lower than typical blood pumped with every heart contraction.
In this new study, the patients of heart failure diagnosed with low ejection fraction were investigated. Fortunately, they were able to draw some links between the effects of anger and stress on the diastolic function of the heart.
Diastolic function means the natural ability to relax and re-load the blood in between the muscular contractions inside the heart.
All of these participants were questioned about their level and intensity of anger, frustration, and stress within the last 24 hours. They were then asked to complete a standardized test to assess their stress or negative emotional level. It was an arithmetic problem test to evaluate the involvement of their mind. During the test, echocardiograms of these patients were completed to evaluate diastolic function. The results were compared to the echocardiograms performed at rest.
Those who experienced having the stressful weeks before coming for the test through mental stress evaluation had extremely low diastolic pressure. The stress was also involved in provoking the diastolic function and changing it such as reduced relaxation, increased pressure, etc.
Kristie Harris from Yale University is the lead author of this study. She says that mental stress is a big risk factor in heart patients as it subjects them to the structural and functional complexities. Hence it leads to chronic diseases, limitations as to function, and frequent hospitalization and surgeries.
There is evidence suggesting patients with elevated levels of stress are more risk of heart diseases. They also suffer from poor life quality and increased risk of expenditures on health. By improving and reducing the risk factors for heart failure such as stress and anger, may help to get control over these things.
In a time when a coronavirus pandemic is affecting the mental health and well-being of the public, it may not be a surprising thing to see high-stress levels. But people with underlying heart conditions should pay attention to these risk factors. Stress and anger management should be given the importance that they deserve as they are often unrecognized or fixed, says Matthew Burg who is a senior author in this study.
While stress-relieving techniques and anger-management are helpful to make a person calm and relaxed, they are also helpful for reducing heart-related threats. People who are diagnosed with a heart condition already should involve themselves in some activity to calm their nerves.
More detailed studies would be needed to identify what promotes stress in heart patients which eventually leads to heart failure. Also, the evaluation of relaxing techniques on relieving stress in heart patients should also be addressed in the near future.