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International Journal of Psychiatry Research

Vol. 4, Issue 1, Part A (2022)

“Mind over heart”: Mental stress and ischemic heart disease-potential implications during covid-19


Vikas Dhikav

It has long been believed that mental stress predisposes towards ischemic heart diseases (IHD) or may worsen it. Several studies have now shown that increase in sympathetic over-activity, platelet activation, liberation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, over-activation of hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis and overproduction of pro-coagulant factors contribute to increase in the risk of mental stress induced IHD. Stress hormones released during stress may cause heart to beat faster and pump harder leading to ischemia, arrhythmias and sometimes heart attack. Looking after cardiac health is all the more important during this crucial period of COVID-19 pandemic as the amount of stress world faces could be multifold. Considering the evidence in support of connection between mental stress and heart disease; Specially in the ongoing situation, there are reasons to believe in the philosophy of ‘mind over heart matters’. In susceptible individuals, either due to genetic vulnerability (‘hypersensitive heart’) or hyper-responsive adrenergic system or deficient stress coping mechanisms or a combination of these three; there is an adverse cardiac response to emotions. This could produce silent or florid ischemia. Resulting damage could be subtle or substantial. Now with challenging times of COVID-19 around with high probability of mental stresses; the effect of the same on heart could be significant. Hence, there appears a need to address the role of mental stress in provoking IHD during COVID-19 times. There seems to be a need to offer help to individuals who are at risk of ‘emotional turmoil induced cardiac damage’ (Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or broken heart syndrome) and address their mental stress to reduce adverse effects on their cardiovascular health. Yoga, timely counseling, psychosocial support, especially during COVID-19 times could be useful in mitigating the adverse impact of COVID-19 induced mental stress on heart disease.

Pages: 1-5  |  715 Views  341 Downloads

International Journal of Psychiatry Research
How to cite this article:
Vikas Dhikav. “Mind over heart”: Mental stress and ischemic heart disease-potential implications during covid-19. Int. J. Psychiatry Res. 2022;4(1):1-5. DOI: 10.33545/26648962.2022.v4.i1a.35
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