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ROSA LO BAIDO

PANIC DISORDER, ANXIETY, AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES

  • Autori: Abrignani, M.; Renda, N.; Abrignani, V.; Raffa, A.; Novo, S.; Lo Baido, R.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2014
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/102974

Abstract

Different data indicate that psychological and/or emotional disorders may play an important role in the natural history of heart diseases. Although the major evidence is that related to depression, epidemiological data would indicate that anxiety and panic disorders are highly represented in cardiac patient, thus influencing mortality and morbidity. The diagnosis of panic disorder in patients with chest pain is crucial to a correct therapeutic approach, as well as to reduce the risks and costs of inappropriate treatments. Anxiety and panic may accelerate different direct and indirect processes involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases: lifestyle risk factors, arterial hypertension, myocardial perfusion, autonomic nervous system or hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, platelet activation, and inflammation processes. Panic disorder seems to correlate particularly with sudden death: this suggests that it may be considered one of the main inducers of life-threatening arrhythmias, rather than to be linked to the development and progression of coronary atherosclerosis. Beyond hard outcomes, panic disorders produce negative effects on both global adjustment and life quality that may impair the course of the cardiac diseases. Interestingly, specific antipanic and anxiolytic agents seem to be particularly effective upon life quality. In any case, adequate controlled clinical trials are necessary in order to confirm the possibility of cardiovascular risk reduction by means of anxiety and panic disorder treatment.