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Healthy mind, healthy heart

A recent study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity shows that your mind affects your immune system, and your immune system affects your heart....

healthy heartMental stress causes obstruction of the arteries in 30% to 60% of patients with coronary artery disease and acute anger is associated with a greater than twofold risk of heart attack, notes Willem Kop, PhD, of Georgetown University in Washington, USA.

Mental arousal triggers immune responses that can activate or even burst plaque deposits, but it is not clear how this happens. Hostile personality, a Type A behavior pattern, and low socioeconomic status, are also associated with elevated long-term risk of first heart attack.

Depression can take its toll on the heart and is linked to a number of different chemical signals that affect the immune system. These signals, Kop notes, contribute to the long-term development of heart disease. Most of these mental effects are small but they add up over time especially when accompanied by other factors such as obesity.

Source: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2003.

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