Managing Stress for Heart Health
Just in time for Valentine's Day, ADAA is offering resources to help people manage their stress and anxiety in order to keep their hearts healthy. February is American Heart Month, a time to focus on preventing America's number one killer, heart disease.
Stress is among the risk factors—along with diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices such as smoking—for heart disease. And people with anxiety disorders and depression have a higher rate of cardiovascular events than those without. Serving as the voice for those affected by anxiety disorders and depression since 1980, ADAA brings the latest science to help people manage their stress and anxiety and improve their heart health this February.
The term "anxiety disorder" refers to several disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic, posttraumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. Unlike brief periods of anxiety, which everyone experiences from time to time, disorders last for extended periods of time, and can interfere with a person's daily life.
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses. An estimated 40 million American adults suffer from them, and women are twice as likely as men to have an anxiety disorder. The symptoms can feel very similar to a cardiac event, with shortness of breath, chest pains, and dizziness. Sometimes women's heart disease symptoms are mistaken for a panic attack. Learn the difference with expert responses from Reid Wilson, PhD, and Mark Pollack, MD.
ADAA's newest feature is a podcast "Anxiety and Cardiovascular Health" with cardiologist Carl Lavie, MD. Dr. Lavie discusses the link between anxiety and other psychological stress for patients with cardiovascular disease. ADAA also offers a list of tips for managing stress and anxiety. Tips range from the simple—take deep breaths, take a time-out—to the more challenging—accept that you cannot control everything, learn what triggers you anxiety—and provide a comprehensive guide to coping with everyday stress.
ADAA provides many different types of educational material, including online videos. Watch Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Stress and Anxiety, hosted by Dr. Douglas Mennin, PhD, for tips to manage stress and live a healthier lifestyle. Visit the Ask an Expert page to read professionals in the field answer questions from the public, or submit a question.
This American Heart Month, ADAA is taking the lead in helping the public learn to manage and treat their anxiety and lead a happier and healthier life. For more information, visit the ADAA website.