The Athlete's Way

Sweat and the biology of bliss

Negative Emotions Can Increase the Risk of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. A study released on May 5, 2014 identified a strong link between negative emotions and an increased risk of heart disease. This study offers new clues for psychological interventions that could reduce the risk of heart disease. Read More

"Traditional risk factors load the gun (for a cardiac event) and Stress pulls the trigger".

My husband at a young age had to have an emergency quintuple bypass surgery. Our twin girls were only 4-years old at that time, and we felt that the rug was pulled from under our feet!

Having some family history of heart disease, he watched his diet, was on a statin drug and went for regular check-ups. He had just gone for a stress test and was given a clean bill of health by his PCP a few months prior. We were quite baffled because we thought he had been doing everything right.

As a clinical psychologist, I decided to review the medical publications and also work with cardiac patients. I came to realize the importance of psychosocial factors in heart disease.

Over the years what I've learnt from working with CVD patients is that: "We are not victims of our genes" & "Traditional risk factors load the gun (for a cardiac event) and Stress pulls the trigger".

I have done a PSA on PBS WHYY TV-12 on Stress and Heart Disease and have also presented at the Go Red for Women AHA event. My hope is that people will pay attention to the role of stress in heart disease.
The good news is it's been 14+ years since that dreadful day, and my husband is doing well. And I feel blessed that I've been able to help numerous heart patients to stay out of the ER, reclaim their lives. I wish you the very best!
Dr Arathi Rao
Tw: @DrArathiRao

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Christopher Bergland is a world-class endurance athlete, coach, author, and political activist.


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