How Mental Health Affects Physical Health

when mental health affects physical health

While people often think of their body and mind as separate, mental health and physical health are closely linked. Having a healthy mental state can help prevent diseases and conditions like heart disease.

Some mental illnesses can lead to unhealthy behaviors like eating poorly, smoking, or drinking alcohol. These behaviors can cause other health problems, such as obesity and a weakened immune system.

1. Depression

Depression is a mental illness that can interfere with your life, relationships and daily activities. It can also affect your physical health.

People who have depression tend to have a higher risk of developing physical problems. This is because depression changes how your brain functions and your body responds to stress.

Physical problems can include fatigue, weight changes, insomnia, chronic pain, and headaches. In addition, depression can make it harder to fight off infections and diseases. It can also increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

2. Anxiety

When you feel anxious, your brain floods your nervous system with hormones and chemicals designed to help you respond to a threat or danger. This response is helpful for short periods of time, but can have long-term harmful effects.

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, you should seek help right away. This can include visiting a doctor, who may ask you questions about your symptoms and perform a physical exam.

If your doctor thinks you have an underlying medical illness, they will order tests to rule out the condition. Afterward, they may refer you to a mental health professional. The treatment for anxiety disorders includes medication and therapy, with the type of therapy being tailored to your specific condition.

3. Obesity

Obesity is one of the leading causes of chronic disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It affects nearly every organ of the body, increasing the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, and many other health conditions.

In addition, obesity can lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Studies show that adults who are obese are more likely to have depression than those who are not.

The reasons for this are complex. It’s caused by a combination of factors, including diet and lack of exercise. Modern lifestyles often involve eating fast food, fatty foods and oversized portion sizes.

4. Heart Disease

When it comes to heart disease, the mind is also a big part of your health. In fact, more than two thirds of our Heart Matters survey respondents reported that their heart condition had affected them emotionally and mentally.

Stress has also been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure and cholesterol. That’s why it’s important to manage your stress levels.

Fortunately, many types of heart disease can be prevented or treated with lifestyle changes. For example, controlling your blood pressure and reducing your diet may help prevent or slow the progression of coronary artery disease (CAD).

5. Diabetes

We often pay more attention to our physical health, but mental health is just as important. It encompasses everything from mood disorders to behavioral issues, and it can influence our cognition and behavior.

Diabetes is a lifelong disease caused when your body cannot use insulin, the hormone that helps your cells absorb glucose (sugar). It can be caused by a number of things including pancreatic damage, genetic mutations and long-term use of certain medications.

The best way to manage your diabetes is to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly and keep blood sugar levels within the recommended range. Regular check-ups with your doctor will also help you monitor your health. Managing stress is another important step.