A new study says that heart patients suffering from anxiety disorders are at a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and death.
The study, conducted by Elisabeth J. Martens, Ph.D., of Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands, and colleagues, found that anxiety disorder was associated with a 74 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events.
Anxiety may be associated with surges in catecholamines, "fight or flight" hormones that may be related to heart risks, they suggest.
Alternatively, patients with anxiety may be more likely to seek care when they have symptoms and therefore be more likely to receive a diagnosis of stroke or heart attack, although this would not explain the increased risk of death.
"Evaluation and treatment of anxiety may also be considered as part of the comprehensive management of patients with coronary heart disease," the team concludes.
The study appears in Archives of General Psychiatry.