Health

Anxiety worsens heart conditions

People with heart disease are at risk of dying sooner if they suffer from chronic depression and anxiety, a recent study suggests.

Researchers examined data on 950 people in Australia and New Zealand with stable coronary artery disease, which happens when plaque accumulates in the arteries supplying the heart and causes them to harden and narrow.

Also called atherosclerosis, this process can weaken the heart muscle, cause an irregular heartbeat and lead to heart attacks.

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About 4 per cent of participants reported regularly suffering from moderate or severe psychological distress over the first four years of the study.

They were roughly four times more likely to die of heart disease and almost three times more likely to die from any cause during the next 12 years compared to people with no distress.

The heart patients who reported only occasional or mild distress, however, did not appear to have an increased risk of premature death, researchers report in the journal Heart. 
- REUTERS

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