Psycho-cardiology studies the psychological factors in the etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of coronary heart disease. In addition to many widely known risk factors (such as hypertension, increased serum levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, diabetes mellitus, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and genetic factors), psychosocial stress also plays a decisive role in the development and course of coronary heart diseases. After myocardial infarction 20% of patients meet the criteria of a depressive or anxiety disorder. These patients have a 2–4 times higher mortality and reinfarction risk compared to other patients. Through the biopsychosocial anamnesis, the doctor can identify maladaptive coping strategies and psychosocial risk factors. These psychosocial risk factors include hostility, vital exhaustion, social isolation, and stress at work. Basic interventions are increasing self-esteem, reducing lack of confidence and anxiety, promoting lifestyle changes (healthy diet, physical activity, smoking cessation program) and correcting maladaptive relationship patterns within the family as well as at the workplace.
KeywordsCoronary heart disease Anxiety Depression Psychosocial risk factors Lifestyle changes
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