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BHF - The link between worrying about your health and heart disease

BHF respond to research from the BMJ Open that explores the link between worrying about your health and an increased risk of heart disease.

The research was led by the National Health Screening Service and reviewed over 7,000 people born between 1953 and 1957.

They took into account their health, lifestyle and levels of education, performed physical health checks and measured their levels of anxiety.

Participants that displayed health anxiety at the start of the study were 73% more likely to develop heart disease than those who showed no anxiety.

BHF’s view on this research

Emily Reeve, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said:

“It’s natural for people to worry if they feel they might be unwell. But anxiety and stress can trigger unhealthy habits, such as smoking or eating badly, which put you at greater risk of heart disease.

“While we don’t know if the ‘worried well’ are directly putting themselves at risk of a heart attack, it’s clear that reducing unnecessary anxiety can have health benefits.  If you are experiencing health anxiety, speak to your doctor.”

Related information: Health anxiety and risk of ischaemic heart disease: a prospective cohort study linking the Hordaland Health Study (HUSK) with the Cardiovascular Diseases in Norway (CVDNOR) project

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