Harvard Health Letter

Can anxiety cause a heart attack?

Many studies have linked heart disease and depression, but heart problems may also go hand in hand with anxiety.

Several studies have shown that about a quarter of people with cardiovascular disease have some kind of anxiety problem and, in some cases, the anxiety seems to make the heart condition worse.

Researchers have reported, for example, that heart patients who have generalized anxiety disorder — constant, pervasive worrying, even about mundane matters — are more likely to have heart attacks and serious heart problems than heart patients who don't.

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