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Anxiety & Blood Clotting

April 29, 2008

Severe anxiety can lead to elevated blood clotting, and an increased risk of heart disease.


Anxiety and heart disease. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

People suffering from anxiety disorders have an increased risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events. But until now, no one knew why. Franziska Geiser of the Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine in Bonn, Germany studies the connection. She and her colleagues subjected patients with severe anxiety to a stressful computer task and measured the coagulation of their blood. They found that it tended to clot more readily than the blood of healthy controls. The anxiety patients were also less able to break down the blood clots that did form. Excessive blood clotting is associated with heart disturbances.

FRANZISKA GEISER (Clinic for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Medicine):
These people might be at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease especially if they had other risk factors such as obesity, or cigarette smoking, or high blood pressure.

She says addressing mental health issues could help prevent cardiovascular disease. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.