Mental health disorders and heart disease

Posted on Jan 01, 2022 | Author Dr Tasaduk Hussain Itoo

Mental health is a crucial part of a person’s overall health, comprising a person’s emotional, psychological and social well-being. Basically it involves the way we think, feel and act. Any negative alteration in these aspects can interfere with the ability to think, behavior, mood, emotions and feelings, thus amounting to mental health disorders.

Mental health disorders present a high risk of developing heart disease, the effects can occur both directly through biological pathways and indirectly through health risk behaviors, including substance abuse.

Scientific research has found that people with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, stress, and even PTSD over a long period of time may experience certain physiological effects on their bodies, such as increased cardiac responsiveness. (for example, increased heart rate and blood pressure), decreased blood flow to the heart, and increased levels of cortisol. Over time, these physiological effects can lead to calcium build-up in the arteries, metabolic disease, and heart disease.

Conversely, mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and PTSD have been shown to develop after major heart events like heart failure, stroke, and heart attack – more so after heart disease. acute due to factors such as pain, fear of death or disability, including financial problems associated with the event.

In addition, it has been revealed that the impact of drugs used to treat mental health disorders poses a significant risk of developing a risk of cardio-metabolic disease – the use of certain antipsychotic drugs has been associated with the obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart attacks, ear disorders. fibrillation, stroke, including death.

In addition, mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression can increase the risk of engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, alcoholism, physical inactivity, or developing resistance to taking prescribed medications. . This is because people with a mental health disorder may have fewer healthy coping strategies for stressful situations, making it difficult for them to make healthy lifestyle choices to lower their risk of heart disease. .

Define preventive interventions

The first frame focuses on when, during an illness, preventive intervention is required. Primary prevention intervenes before any sign of disease and aims to reduce or eliminate the causal risk factors, to prevent the onset and thus to reduce the incidence of the disease. Examples include vaccinations to prevent infectious diseases and the encouragement of healthy eating habits and physical activity to prevent obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic diseases and conditions.

Secondary prevention occurs at a latent stage of the disease: after the onset of the disease but before the person becomes symptomatic. The goals that ultimately reduce the prevalence of the disease are early identification through screening as well as the provision of interventions to prevent the disease from manifesting. Screening tools and tests are examples of secondary prevention.

Finally, tertiary prevention is an intervention implemented after the establishment of a disease, with the aim of preventing further disability, morbidity and mortality. Medical treatments delivered during illness can be considered tertiary prevention. Another form of tertiary prevention is relapse prevention. For example, while speaking of mental health disorders, primary, secondary and tertiary prevention is illustrated respectively by the elimination of certain forms of dementia that arise from vitamin deficiencies, screening for problematic consumption that precedes disorders related to alcohol consumption and the provision of psychosocial treatment to reduce disability in people with severe mental illness.

The second prevention approach, which focuses largely on those receiving an intervention, also has three levels of prevention: universal, selective and indicated. Universal preventive interventions are administered to the whole group (for example, a school, an entire community, or the entire population), regardless of an individuals’ level of risk for the disease. Examples include fortification or fortification of foods, school drug addiction programs, and information campaigns, such as public announcements about wearing seat belts or not texting while driving.

Selective preventive interventions are those provided to a subgroup at increased risk for disease outcome. Examples include the use of lipid-lowering drugs in people with hyperlipidemia (to prevent subsequent cardiovascular disease) and pneumococcal vaccination in the elderly.

The preventive interventions indicated are those given to an even smaller group who are at particularly high risk or who already have subclinical symptoms. Examples include lifestyle modifications for pre-diabetes or pre-hypertension. Speaking of mental health disorders, universal, selective and indicated preventive interventions are exemplified by social and emotional development programs offered in elementary schools, group psychotherapy for children of parents with depressive disorders, and efforts to improve mental health, respectively. identify and treat adolescents and young people. adults who appear to be at high clinical risk.

Prevention of heart disease

· Controlling High Blood Pressure: This is one of the most important things anyone can do to reduce the risk of heart disease. Exercising, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting the amount of sodium in your diet, and avoiding alcohol can all help control high blood pressure. In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, you may need to take medication to treat high blood pressure.

· Diabetes Control: Diabetes can be managed with diet, exercise, weight control, and medication.

· Reduce the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in the diet: Eating less cholesterol and fat, especially saturated fat and trans fat, can reduce plaque build-up in the arteries. In addition to dietary changes, it may be necessary to take cholesterol-lowering drugs.

· Exercise regularly: Exercise reduces the risk of heart disease in several ways. It can lower blood pressure, increase high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and improve the overall health of blood vessels and heart. It also helps with weight loss, diabetes control, and stress reduction.

· Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables: A diet containing at least five daily servings of fruits or vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating a diet that emphasizes olive oil, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains can help.

· Quitting smoking: Smoking increases the risk of heart disease for smokers and non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Thus, quitting smoking reduces the risk of heart disease.

· Avoid alcohol: this can be a risk factor for heart disease. Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of high blood pressure, ischemic heart disease, and heart attack.

· Avoid drug abuse: Some drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamines, are established risk factors for ischemic heart disease.

· Antiplatelet drugs are commonly used as preventative drugs. Platelets are cells in the blood that form clots. Antiplatelet drugs make these cells less sticky and less likely to clot. The most commonly used antiplatelet drug is aspirin.

· Blood thinners: Medicines, which include heparin and warfarin, reduce blood clotting. Heparin works quickly and can be used for a short time in the hospital. Slower-acting warfarin can be used longer.


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