Stress and Anger Can Intensify Heart Failure

by | Mar 22, 2023 | Anger, Stress, Well-being | 0 comments

Mental stress and anger can have medical repercussions for people with heart failure, a new report has revealed in the Journal of Cardiac Failure.

Heart failure is a life-threatening cardiovascular disease during which the heart breaks or weakens. This may cause a diminished ejection fraction, during which the heart muscle pumps out less blood than is typical.

For individuals who have heart failure with diminished ejection fraction, a recent study shows that stress and anger can have a negative effect on diastolic function. Diastolic performance is a measure of the heart’s strength to relax and refill between muscle contractions, providing a sign of mortality risk.

For a week, participants in the study answered questionnaires about their stress, anger, and damaging feelings daily. Participants then completed a standardized mental stress protocol, in which they solved difficult arithmetic problems and described an anxiety-provoking event. They were also given echocardiograms to check for any changes in their diastolic function at rest.

Patients who reported having felt angry found that their diastolic heart rate wasn’t as strong when measured at the beginning of the stress test. Most of the sufferers had a decrease in early output, while their diastolic pressure increased.

“Mental stress is common in patients with heart failure due in part to the complexities of disease self-management, progressively worsening functional limitations, and frequent symptom exacerbations and hospitalizations,” mentioned the lead creator Kristie Harris, a postdoctoral affiliate in cardiovascular medication at Yale.

As well as having a negative effect on the quality of a patient’s life, chronic stress can lead to an increased risk of future hostile conditions. In today’s age, heart failure patients may need additional care because of the stresses of a viral pandemic. 

“Factors resembling mental stress and anger usually go unrecognized and are under-addressed,” mentioned Matthew Burg, a Yale clinical psychologist and senior creator of the research. “This study contributes to the extensive literature showing that stress and anger affect clinical outcomes for patients with heart disease, adding chronic heart failure to the list that includes ischemic heart disease (narrowed arteries) and arrhythmic disease.”

Burg has mentioned that stress management and other similar methods have been proven to decrease the risk of the most serious incidents among patients with ischemic heart disease.


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