A recent study has found that people with health anxiety, also known as hypochondria and illness anxiety disorder, have an increased risk of developing heart disease. This presents a problem for the doctors who have to evaluate a person with unexplained medical symptoms, and have to explain that this is anxiety-based, rather than a medical problem. But the problem becomes more complicated, as a person with health anxiety is at increased risk of developing a real medical problem, such as heart disease.
So when you health anxiety, you are extremely worried that you have a medical illness. And this worry consumes you, to the point where you are not able to do other things in your life, and your relationships, job performance, and self-care is significantly affected. When you have health anxiety, your worry and anxiety oftentimes forces you to seek medical attention from your doctor, as you may be worried that you may have cancer or a heart problem, for example.
But this study has shown that doctors may need to consider real medical complications for patients that have extreme worries about their health. In this study, they followed subjects with health anxiety over a 12-year period. They found that people with health anxiety developed heart disease at double the rate of those who did not have health anxiety.
The challenge for doctors is that they need to consider the real medical illnesses, such as heart disease, that can develop as a result of extreme, chronic worries about one’s health. Way too often, doctors will dismiss patients who have unexplained physical symptoms. This study shows they can’t dismiss their patients’ complaints, as real medical illnesses can develop from anxiety.
In summary, health anxiety can be detrimental to your physical health, and if left untreated, it can lead to real medical illnesses, such as heart disease. Anxiety in general is detrimental to your health. The good news is that there are effective treatments for anxiety. Effective treatment for anxiety can help you with improved mental and physical health.
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