Saturday, September 10, 2011

Anxiety helps with Acute Coronary Syndrome recovery..Is this true?

I was reading on Australian Doctor today regarding an article titled, "Anxiety drives recovery".  It talks about a Sydney study that showed people with generalised anxiety disorder actually had a better 5-year outcome following a Acute Coronary Syndrome than people who did not have anxiety.

Does this even make sense?

Well, if you read some of my articles on anxiety, you will appreciate my philosophy on anxiety and that is, it is neither good or bad.  You can use Anxiety for good and likewise, you can use it for bad. In essence, it is a double edge sword.  Anxiety is a very helpful tool but if you can not "control" it, then it can backfire and manifest as an "Anxiety Disorder" and possibly, a "secondary" Depression.  It is well accepted within the Medical Profession that Anxiety and Depression often go hand and hand.

A "healthy dose" of Anxiety will probably help to motivate patients into changing their lifestyle and implement preventative strategies.  However, if the Anxiety is too overwhelming and is associated with a "secondary" Depression, then you might find that the results will be different.  It is well known that Depression is a risk factor for Acute Coronary Syndrome or "heart attacks". 

So if you have Anxiety or Depression and has risk factors for heart disease, please talk to your Doctor about getting some help for the Anxiety and Depression just like you would seek treatment for all of your other cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, high homocysteine, and diabetes. 

Australian Doctor p7 Aug2011
Psychiatry Research 2011;188:383-89

Dr Vin Tran
MMBS FRACGP Qld Australia