Cardiovascular disease patients who suffer from anxiety disorders may be linked to an increased risk of developing severe hearth problems, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
In an effort to determine how anxiety may affect people with heart problems, investigators examined more than 1,000 patients who had been diagnosed with coronary heart disease. The team conducted a series of tests on the participants, took both blood and urine samples, and interviewed each individual.
Following approximately six years of follow-ups, 371 of the patients suffered some form of cardiovascular complications. Of the people who developed the health problems, 9.6 percent had anxiety disorders, while 6.6 percent were free of these psychological problems.
Also, the team discovered that patients with the disorders were 74 percent more likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack, heart failure and death.
The authors of the study concluded that “generalized anxiety disorder may be considered a prognostic factor in patients with coronary heart disease and could be used in risk stratification.” They added that “evaluation and treatment of anxiety may also be considered as part of the comprehensive management of patients with coronary heart disease.”
In addition to monitoring anxiety disorders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that coronary heart disease patients lower both their cholesterol and blood pressure levels in order to avoid further cardiovascular complications.