Stress is a common factor in many health outcomes, including atrial fibrillation (AFib), but the exact mechanism is poorly defined. Psychological stress has been linked with AFib both as an initiator and heightener of this condition. A diagnosis of AFib often leads to increased anxiety, which can result from psychological distress or suicidal ideation, among other conditions.
With an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm, people who are diagnosed with atrial fibrillation are at risk for blood clots in the arteries. If this condition goes untreated or isn’t appropriately managed by medication, sufferers could experience stroke-related complications such as heart failure. Worldwide, AFib is the most common arrhythmia.
There’s been a significant global variation in people reporting psychological stress. Still, on average, it reportedly occurs by 1 out of 3 individuals who experience some form or another each year, with COVID-19 leading us into even more significant increases over time.
For this new study, the researchers examined the role of stress in AFib and modifying traditional risk factors like diet and alcohol cessation. They also focused on how to measure for these often subjective feelings called “stress.”
The study looked at gender differences in how the heart deals with chronic high-stress levels. Researchers looked specifically at increases in oxygenation within the body because some females may be less able than males due to their hormones changing over time, which can lead to different outcomes.
Study author Peter Kistler, MBBS, Ph.D., explains, “We also have to better consider the bidirectional nature of stress and AFib. More and more studies are showing it goes both ways. Stress begets AFib and AFib begets stress. When we are managing AFib patients, clinicians tend to focus on the physical symptoms of AFib and not fully consider both baseline and evolving mental health consequences of having a heart rhythm disorder.”
The current study is an important first step in understanding how stress affects our health and its potential impact on atrial fibrillation. Future research should establish standardized methods of detecting and quantifying this variable. At the same time, randomized trials are needed to better evaluate the benefits associated with reducing individuals’ levels or experiences during times when they may be under higher than normal demands.
As this new research shows, avoiding stress is vital for heart health. It is also essential to get the proper vitamins and nutrients that can support cardiovascular function. Heart Rescue was designed to help support and promote cardiovascular health using various ingredients, including omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10, magnesium, and hawthorn extract.
Reducing stress is also part of healthy brain function, and The Smart Pill can help to enhance cognitive function. The brain is a complex organ that always needs maintenance to function at its peak potential. With constant stress and environmental factors, it becomes difficult for your cognitive abilities to stay healthy as you age, affecting concentration or memory skills.
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