Health Tip: Fears and Phobias

Putting your heart at risk

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(HealthDay News) -- People with phobic anxieties, like fear of crowded places, fear of heights or fear of going outside, are at higher risk for heart disease than those with fewer or no anxieties.

Several studies have suggested that anxiety and anger are associated with an elevated risk of sudden cardiac death. This is when death occurs within one hour of the onset of symptoms; it's usually associated with a lethal heart rhythm disturbance.

The following questions, suggested by the American Heart Association, may help you determine if you need to see a mental health professional:

  • Do you have an unreasonable fear of being in enclosed spaces like shops, elevators, etc.?
  • Do you find yourself worrying about getting some incurable illness?
  • Are you exceptionally afraid of heights?
  • Do you feel panicky in crowds?
  • Do you worry unduly when relatives are late in coming home?
  • Do you feel more relaxed indoors?
  • Do you dislike going out alone?
  • Do you feel uneasy traveling on buses or trains even if they are not crowded?

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