Monday, April 21, 2008

Could Anxiety Increase Risk of Heart Disease?

Researchers are looking at the effects of anxiety on heart disease and subsequently, heart attacks. The logic is that when people are frightened or stressed out, their blood flow slows down, making them at a higher risk for blood clots that could result in heart attacks or thrombosis.

A study done by the University of Bonn’s Clinic and Policlinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy and the Institute of Experimental Haematology and Transfusion Medicine compared a healthy control group with 31 patients suffering from extreme panic disorder or social phobia to find out if the anxiety ridden group had a higher rate of heart disease.

The patients gave blood samples and then took a series of computer tests, followed by another blood sample. The results showed that the group with anxiety had a more highly active coagulation system.

Researchers think this may be the missing link to why those with anxiety have more heart attacks. This new information could be used to improve the way anxiety disorders are treated and diagnosed.

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