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Health Minute: Relationship Between Mental Health and Heart Health

By: Claude

The last three years have been tough for so many. The stress can play a huge role in our health. Dr. Daisy Lazarous, Director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Program at Adventist HealthCare joins us to share more about how our mental health is linked to our heart health. 


What is the connection between mental health and heart disease? 


  • Different forms of mental health issues can increase your risk for heart disease 

  • Increased depression, anxiety and stress over time may lead to an increase in heart rate & blood pressure  

  • Can lead to buildup in the arteries, leading to heart disease 

  • People experiencing a mental health disorder may have fewer healthy coping strategies for stressful situations 

  • Makes it difficult to make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce their risk for heart disease 

  • Anxiety and depression may lead to behaviors such as smoking, increased alcohol use or inactive lifestyle   

Are there certain groups who are at higher risk?  

  • Those experiencing anxiety or depression 

  • Women are at higher risk of experiencing depression  

  • People experiencing chronic stress 

  • Those who have heart disease or had a stroke before  

  • They may be depressed from having to recover, learn certain movements again, go to rehab, etc. and may affect how they recover  

  • Puts them at increased risk of future attacks 

  • Veterans are at higher risk due to PTSD because of combat   

What should be done to decrease risk? 

  • Start by discussing how you are feeling, physically and mentally with your doctor 

  • Recognize signs and symptoms of mental health disorders and heart disease  

  • Know your family history and if genetic factors play a role in your risk  

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle

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