National Wear Red Day

Created to raise awareness of heart disease being the Number 1 killer of women.

With mental health issues still struggling to gain the importance it deserves with some individuals and groups - I'm jumping on the back of the National Wear Red day to tell you how heart disease can be linked to mental health.

Let me share some Heart UK statistics:

  • 160,000 people die from heart and circulatory disease
  • 73,000 people die from coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • 40,000 die from a stroke
  • 42,000 died prematurely from cardiovascular disease
  • Death rate from CHD are the highest in areas of greatest deprivation

I want to share how attending to your mental health can contribute to a healthy heart.

We could debate, what comes first, the heart or the mind/body, so I'll present both scenarios.

You may or may not know, that together with other contributing factors, high blood pressure, poor diet and a lack of physical exercise can increase your chances of heart disease. You may or may not know too, that when you experience mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, you're more likely to adopt behaviours that increase your risk in those areas. For example, the increased levels of adrenaline and cortisol in your bloodstream has an impact on your blood pressure, and the nature of both anxiety and depression lowers your inclination and ability, to exercise and eat healthily. Some people drink and smoke more to manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are also huge contributing factors.

The chicken or the egg scenario comes in when we consider the impact a diagnosis such as heart disease can have on mental health; thus reinforcing the environments that heart disease thrives within.

What's my point?

You may not value your mental health in isolation and/or you may be worried about the stigma attached to seeking professional support around your mental health, but I want to encourage you to consider this link; if your overall health is important to you then so is your mental health.

What can you do?

  • Talk to a professional if you're concerned about your mental health
  • Make an appointment to see the GP
  • Tell friend and family about the changes you want to make to your lifestyle so they can help keep you accountable
  • Invest some thought into why you're ignoring your mental health and what you can do to push through the barriers.
  • Learn about mental health and see how our understanding and the capacity to change it has changed over the years; it isn't so frowned upon or scary if you find the right support