With enough medications and interventions, achieving perfect blood pressure, blood sugar, cardiac output, and vascular health is possible. But that’s not a sustainable way of managing Heart Health. For many, their mental health has to be addressed.
Mental health includes stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep. These things are related to our careers, relationships, and childhood events.
With a healthy psychological state, the autonomic nervous system is more balanced. Even the AHA has directed its marketing on the topic of emotional health.
My blood pressure is quite sensitive to my stress levels. This is likely related to my adrenalin levels in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). We use epinephrine or forms of norepinephrine as a way to bring up the blood pressure of patients in the ICU.
With longer-lasting stress or constant low-level stress with which I can’t cope well, my hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system is activated. The hormone cortisol causes changes in certain cell channels, which increase blood pressure.
Despite several medications, a patient’s blood pressure can remain elevated if their stress level doesn’t normalize.
Heart Health and Mental Health
Those who deal with a lot of depression and anxiety or face other major societal pressure tend to have much worse cardiovascular outcomes than less-stressed peers.
We can’t change job security, income security, or our upbringing. But how a person can cope with some of these mental health factors can help improve Heart Health outcomes.
Meditation, psychological intervention, breathing techniques, certain body movements, and dietary changes can help improve mental health.
My goal as a Heart Health Coach is to help identify the factors which require more immediate attention. Sometimes, it’s our psychiatric state which needs to be addressed first.