Health anxiety: What is it? How does it increase your risk for heart disease? Know the causes of this disorder!
New new research suggests that health anxiety might increase the risk of heart disease.
New Delhi: Anxiety is a known risk factor for heart disease. Anxiety is a feeling of unease such as - worry or fear and can be mild or severe.
We all know that fear and anxiety are normal part of life. But when your worries and fears seem overwhelming, forceful and get worse over time, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Heart disease is the number one cause of death globally. While the number of of heart patients is on the rise worldwide, the situation in India is even more alarming, cardiology experts said.
Health anxiety and heart disease
Recently a new research suggests that health anxiety might increase the risk of heart disease indicating the consequences of it are also serious and that the condition should be treated properly.
Health anxiety is also associated with other mental health issues, such as general anxiety and depression.
Researchers led by Line Iden Berge, from the Helse Bergen hospital in Bergen, Norway, found that health anxiety raised risk of heart disease by 73%.
What is health anxiety?
Health anxiety, also called hypochondria, is a condition in which certain people excessively worry about their health, causing great distress and interfere with your everyday life.
How to identify if you or someone in your family has health anxiety?
As per NHS Choices, some individuals with health anxiety have a medical condition, which they worry about excessively, whereas others have medically unexplained symptoms, such as chest pain or headaches, which they are concerned may be a sign of a serious illness, despite the doctor's reassurance.
People with health anxiety may refuse medical help for fear that they will get the worst possible news like – cancer, heart disease. Some individuals who are affected by health anxiety may not disclose anyone about their fears as they are beliebed that they will not be taken seriously. On nthe other hand, some people with this medical condition may frequently visit or switch doctors.
What causes health anxiety?
Although the exact cause of health anxiety is unknown, there are certain factors that may trigger the disorder:
- A serious illness during childhood
- Having a serious illness or death in your family, relative or friend as a child
- Going through a particularly stressful period of life
- Being affected by an anxiety disorder
- Having close family members who themselves have health anxiety.
If you or anyone in the family has any of the above symptoms, consulting with a clinical psychologists or medical practitioners can help. Besides, experts believe that seeking treatment, including counselling and medications may help in dealing with the disorder.