Can Irrational Health Beliefs Be Bad For Your Heart?

Why do so many people with heart problems have trouble sticking to a rehabilitation program?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in most industrialized countries.  For people experiencing heart problems, participating in a cardiac rehabilitation(CR) program can be one of the most effective ways to ensure a longer life.   In a comprehensive program, heart patients can learn about potential risk factors,  develop healthier lifestyle habits,  and establish an exercise schedule that can ensure proper fitness. 

Studies show that heart patients who successfully complete a CR program have lower mortality rates, reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure, and better lifestyle habits.  CR programs can also reduce psychological problems linked to coronary artery disease.   Having had a mild heart attack myself two years ago, I consider the CR program I attended afterward to be one of the most valuable educational experiences in my life. 

Still, despite the clear benefits that a CR program can produce, an estimated twenty to fifty percent of all heart patients either fail to stick to the full CR program or drop out completely.  Research studies looking at different factors that can influence heart patients to drop out of CR program suggest that depression and emotional distress may play a role.    Another potential explantion for poor compliance with CR programs deals with cognitive distortions relating to health care.

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.

           

Related Stories

  • Cynicism, Paranoia and Stress Can Dramatically Impact Your Health
  • The Geography of Suicide
  • Learning to Live Together, Jaffa Style
 

 
disclaimer

The information provided on the PsyWeb.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of PsyWeb.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?
Yes
50%
No
50%
Total votes: 3979