Heart failure and mental health
There is nothing as earth altering as the diagnosis of heart failure. The figures in terms of its general prognosis make the diagnosis even scarier. Heart failure is a group of symptoms caused by poor heart muscle function which hinders its effectiveness in pumping blood to meet the needs of the body. To be clear the heart has failed to work effectively but it has not stopped.
The heart is quite connected to one’s mental health therefore it goes without saying that the diagnosis of heart failure predisposes one to mental health difficulties. This is a the chicken and the egg point because ones heart health can result in poor mental health and poor mental health can predispose one to poor heart health. In some situations the actual treatment required for heart failure may result in the development of depressive symptoms. In others it is the major change in quality of life that then affect ones emotional wellness.
Upon diagnosis, it is quite normal to have worries, concerns and even very low moods about the implication of the condition on yourself currently, mourning the loss of a former healthier self, the impact of this to your future as well as what this would mean for your family. It becomes an important factor to discuss these emotions with your doctor. The doctor will not only give proper information about the condition- which is quite empowering, but also help you to find a way to enjoy life therefore maintain a good quality of life.
Finding ways to ease the stress levels is a big plus. High stress levels tends to weaken the immune system. It can cause high blood pressure, damage the arteries further affecting the heart rhythm. The basics can help in insulating the person. The basics here refer to eating healthy balanced diets, physical exercise regimes that are safe for you, regular and healthy sleep patterns and keeping clear off drugs, alcohol and other substances.
Ensuring that you continue to engage in social activities like religious communities, spending time with friends and family is also key in building emotional wellness. Intentionally reducing stressors in one’s life and creating space for hobbies and relaxation to rejuvenate have positive correlation to heart health.
F.G. Njenga and Nguithi Associates