It’s completely normal to be nervous about annual visits to the doctor. The fear of an unknown diagnosis, unfamiliar processes, and more are enough to keep many people at bay from the doctor’s office. 


While it may seem scary or nerve-wracking, attending your annual screening and developing a relationship with your provider can do wonders for your physical and mental health. In this blog, we will discuss the connection between mental disorders and heart diseases, and the importance of attending annual screenings for your overall well-being. 


What Mental Disorders Are Connected to Heart Disease? 

Mental health refers to one’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being and is a vital part of overall health. Mental health can impact how we think, feel, act, and make choices. And, mental health disorders can interfere with a variety of daily activities, like interacting with others, short-term or long-term. 

A multitude of studies shows the impact of mental stress on our heart health. Some of the common mental health disorders related to heart disease include:

 - Mood Disorders: Marketed disruptions in emotions that impact your ability to function. 


- Anxiety Disorders: Characterized by constant feelings of worry, stress, anxiety, or fear that are frequent enough to interfere with your daily life. 


- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Persistent emotional and physical reactions after experiencing a traumatic event.


- Chronic Stress: Constant sense of feeling overwhelmed and stressed for weeks or months. 


What Is the Connection Between Mental Health and Heart Conditions? 

There are a few connections between mental health and heart conditions. Everyone’s body is different, so these factors may vary based on diagnosis, age, and genetic factors. However, some people with high cholesterol and high blood pressure experience noncompliance (refusing treatment and/or not following prescribed treatment recommendations), inflammation, elevated stress, and a higher chance of developing psychiatric brain disorders. 


- High Cholesterol: High cholesterol, and in some cases, low cholesterol, can affect the central nervous system (CNS). Changes in the CNS can result in increased levels of stress and change in mood and contribute to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and others.


-Hypertension/High Blood Pressure: The low-grade, chronic inflammation that hypertension causes in the body create a chemical response that negatively affects mood-regulating chemicals, possibly leading to anxiety disorders or chronic stress disorders.

While a diagnosis of high cholesterol or high blood pressure can cause anxiety in and of itself, it’s important to not let worry overwhelm you. If you need help managing stress or anxiety, regulate any persisting anxiety or changes in personality after your diagnosis. If you notice a change in your mood, speak with a doctor to discuss possible treatment options. 

How Can I Lower the Risk of Heart Disease Affecting My Mental Health?

If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, we recommend learning more about the signs and symptoms of common mental health disorders. Next time you see your doctor about your heart condition, don’t be shy about discussing mental health concerns like stress, mood swings, or others, so you can explore your options for treatment and support. Annual screening with your cardiologist is a simple and stress-free way to maintain your physical and mental health. While it may seem scary, our team at UAB Medical West is ready to provide treatment and support you in a variety of ways. 


If you haven’t been diagnosed with heart disease, you should still make it a priority to see a cardiologist annually for preventive purposes. This is especially important if you have a family history of heart disease, or have a higher risk of heart disease from lifestyle activities, like drinking or smoking. Give yourself peace of mind by scheduling your appointment with a cardiologist and achieve tranquility on the physical and mental fronts at UAB Medical West.


Seek Treatment for Your Mind and Body

Don’t put off your annual health screenings until next year. The team of physicians and staff at UAB Medical West can answer any questions or concerns you may have before, during, and after your appointment. Find comfort and reassurance by scheduling an appointment with a cardiologist this October for a check-up on your physical and mental health. 

Schedule an Appointment With a Cardiologist Today

Find peace of mind about your mind and body health this October. To learn more about mental health resources in the Birmingham community, or to schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists, contact us today.