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Stress, Anxiety May Be Deadly for Heart Patients

Anxiety significantly increases heart patients’ risk of suffering a stroke, heart attack or heart failure according to a study published in the July 2010 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Researchers from Tiburg University, the Netherlands recruited 1,024 heart disease patients for the study. 106 of those participants had generalized anxiety disorder.

The researchers followed the participants for six years and during that time they recorded 371 cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or death.

They found that people with anxiety disorders had a 74% increased risk of suffering a cardiovascular event. This relationship remained true even after the researchers accounted for a long list of possible contributing factors such as depression, inflammation and physical activity.

According to the researchers the link between anxiety and increased risk of cardiovascular complications could be due to a number of factors such as increases in fight or flight hormones and heart rate. Anxious patients may also be less likely to seek out help.

These findings show that people that are already at high risk of cardiovascular disease may want to consider making lifestyle changes to reduce stress.

There are a number of natural ways to reduce stress. According to experts and recent studies, meditating, yoga, increasing activity levels and listening to soothing music all can be effective. Additionally, natural remedies such as omega-3 fatty acids, St Johns Wort and Goji berry juice may combat stress, anxiety and depression in a number of different ways.

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