Pericarditis and Stress: Psychological Stress Has Cardiac Effect

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Increased stress can cause a severe chain reaction of symptoms in the body, which can confuse the immune system into thinking that the abnormal chemical process is an attack on the body. Abnormal stress responses can be the result of various diseases or conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse, and post traumatic stress disorder. Here, we take a look at Pericarditis and stress and how stress affects the cardiac function of the heart.


Pericarditis and Stress

Pericarditis and  Stress: How Is Your Health Impacted?

Stress can affect virtually any organ system, and cardiovascular diseases are no exception. When the body is under a high amount of stress, it can produce symptoms that mimic those caused by a variety of different disorders. Because of this, it can be difficult for doctors to determine the best method of treatment when presented with a patient who has both an inflamed pericardium and a previous psychological condition.

Important research has been conducted that explains how high levels of stress can lead to a variety of different health problems. This research shows that those who experience significant psychological stress are more prone to developing colds and other viral infections than those with normal stress levels.

In the case of a pericarditis episode, there are many possible causes that need to ruled out – particularly the worsening of a previous psychological disorder. In cases of extreme stress, the body’s antibodies react in order to protect the affected person. Inflammation of the pericardium can occur as a part of this reaction, although physicians are unsure of why this happens.

Further studies need to be conducted in order to accurately address this issue, but there have been cases where the patient affected with inflammation of the pericardium has also been affected by a psychological disorder. In the studies conducted, female patients between the ages of 45 and 50 were the most affected.

In patients who had shown high levels of stress, a combination of rest, Ibuprofen, and a psychological drug of choice helped to alleviate symptoms of acute pain and inflammation. By reducing the amount of overall stress of the patient, the need for medications such as Colchicine was reduced.

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Pericarditis And Stress: The Pain Threshold

In cases of patients with pericarditis and stress, patients may show a wide range of pain. Some are merely affected by a slight discomfort, while others experience unbearable pain. Each patient has a different pain tolerance, so while some may be unaffected by the pain, others may experience extreme anxiety or panic attacks due to the intensity of their symptoms.

The increase in anxiety and stress can worsen or increase the symptoms, causing rapid or irregular cardiac rhythm, loss of fluid, intense sweating and fatigue. Hypertension or hypotension can also be found in patients with high levels of stress.

Patients with diabetes who are also suffering from a psychological disorder are at the highest risk, especially when they are suffering from extreme levels of stress. The inflammation, pain, dehydration and fatigue due to pericarditis and stress increases the patient’s overall stress level, which worsens the symptoms of diabetes.

Rest Is Vital When You Suffer With Pericarditis and Stress

It’s almost impossible to get a good rest when affected by pericarditis due to the sharp and constant pain. The constant pain leads to anger and frustration, which causes stress and increases the symptoms. For patients that have been previously affected by psychological disorders, the stress and symptoms are a never ending circle.

They have increased stress due to their psychological disorder, which increases the symptoms of the pericarditis, which causes more stress, which continues to worsen the symptoms, etc. When determining what medications are best to treat the symptoms of pericarditis, it’s important to address the issue of high stress levels.

The most common co-existing conditions in Pericarditis and stress are:

  1. Depression
  2. Pain
  3. Agitation
  4. Hypertension
  5. Hypotension
  6. Diabetes
  7. Schizophrenia
  8. Blood pressure
  9. Post-traumatic stress disorder
  10. Bipolar I disorder

The most common medications used are:

  1. Seroquel
  2. Lorazepam
  3. Xanax
  4. Zoloft
  5. Humira
  6. Ativan
  7. Effexor
  8. Plavix
  9. Nexium
  10. Trazodone hydrochloride

Since there are so many possible causes of pericarditis, it’s difficult for physicians to rule out all possible causes in order to determine the actual cause, and in turn determine the best possible route of treatment. However your doctor will most likely advise you if they diagnose pericarditis and stress, to take more time for yourself, to relax, to meditate and possible undertake cognitive behavior therapy to help you relax.

You may like to read more on pericarditis and stress here at the Cleveland Clinic

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