Did you know that your emotions affect your heart? In fact, Johns Hopkins medicine states “people with depression but no previously detected heart disease, seem to develop heart disease at a higher rate than the general population.” These conditions are two of the most prominent conditions in the United States, so it isn’t a surprise that they are linked. Here’s the reasons people with depression are more likely to develop heart disease, the leading cause of death for both women and men:

Unhealthy Habits

Have you ever found yourself gravitate towards unhealthy foods when you’re upset? That’s why they are called comfort foods; a lot of people find comfort in treats loaded with processed fats, sugar, salt and other harmful ingredients. However, one of the leading causes of heart disease is an unhealthy diet. While we all deserve a treat sometimes, try limiting your “treats” to items that are still good for you.

If you’re craving sugar, for example, try snacking on dark chocolate covered walnuts instead of having a candy bar. Substitute sodium-laden potato chips with kale chips or sweet potato chips. And you can even have ice cream! Ice cream made with natural sweeteners such as stevia and coconut milk are a great alternative to ice cream made with dairy. This way, you can still get the comfort you are looking for without sacrificing your health. Don’t let your emotions affect your heart.

Stress Hormones

Depression can sometimes be the cause of added stress. Sometimes overwhelming worry can make you feel down. When stress is constant, your body’s flight or fight response stays on. The Mayo Clinic reports“the long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems.” One of these issues is cardiovascular disease– or increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Emotions affect your heart, so be sure to avoid stress when you can.

Our Advice

Learning good habits is a good way to fight depression and maintain a healthy heart. When you’re upset, try exercising instead of binge watching TV or eating out. Taking time for yourself and learning how to relax can help your body calm down as well. Take a bath, read a book, or do something else that you enjoy when you’re feeling stressed. These tips may even help you prevent heart disease. If you want more tips about balancing your emotions or maintaining a healthy heart, contact one of our providers today.