A recent study has said that hypochondriacs, or people who worry constantly about their health, might actually be making themselves sick from worry.
Health anxiety is a real problem
Researchers from Norway found that those that have “health anxiety” had twice the risk of experiencing a heart attack or acute chest pains compared to those who didn’t worry as much.
Over 7,000 people were analyzed in a long-term study wherein the researchers examined the subjects’ health over a period of 13 years. They conducted blood tests, checked blood pressure, and measured their height and weight. They also measured the patients’ anxiety levels over the course of the study.
The researchers then found that those who had health anxiety had a 70% higher risk for heart disease.
There’s still a lot of research to be done
While the study found a connection between being a hypochondriac and an increased risk for blood pressure, it still doesn’t explain why hypochondriacs are at risk.
Additionally, the study doesn’t account for other factors, such as ethnicity, lifestyle habits, or family history. In spite of those limitations, it does show a greater insight into the effects that health anxiety can have on the body.
This just highlights the importance of assessing a patient’s mental health in addition to their physical health.
Being worried makes things worse
Worrying about your health is pretty normal. However, being worried to the point of constantly obsessing about it is a big problem.
People who suffer from health anxiety, commonly known as hypochondriacs, constantly worry about their health. Being online also makes it worse. Hypochondriacs will spend hours just reading about diseases or conditions that might be plaguing them.
For hypochondriacs, an upset stomach might mean stomach cancer, a scrape might mean tetanus, and a headache means they have a brain tumor. Health anxiety is a mental condition that’s as real as depression, and it does interfere with people’s lives.
Hypochondriacs might worry themselves to the point that they neglect to eat, or to keep themselves healthy. That’s why treatment is very important since health anxiety might lead to an actual disease.
If you or someone you know has health anxiety, it’s best to seek help. Health anxiety can better be managed through the use of therapy and medicine. The important thing is to make sure that their condition doesn’t interfere with their quality of life.
Sources: WebMD, Tech Times, Huffington Post
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