Interesting Research Showing the Effects of a Heart Attack on Cognition
Having a heart attack is a traumatic event. Not only is it extremely scary, with what feels like death staring you straight in the face, but it also forces the patient to assess their mortality. “If I’ve had a heart attack, I could die at any moment.” With many patients thinking this, it is no surprise that a recent study has shown that heart attacks may speed up cognitive decline.
In a recent Swedish study, patients who experienced a heart attack were more likely to develop dementia and other cognitive impairment. The study authors believe that this cognitive decline stems from heart attack trauma.
The Heart House’s Take
General illness and cardiovascular health significantly affect more than just our bodies. Our psychological health is also at stake. This study is fascinating because it shows that severe cardiovascular events such as a heart attack can have a traumatic on the brain in the form of cognitive decline. Of course, we must ask if it is the heart attack itself or the underlying health condition contributing to dementia and cognitive impairment. For example, there is plenty of evidence to show that obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other metabolic disorders affect the heart and the brain alike.
It’s also possible that damage to the heart due to a heart attack may limit blood to the brain. Alternately, some patients may suffer from silent strokes, which involve blockage of blood vessels so small that they aren’t necessarily recognized as a full-blown stroke. The ultimate result may be damage to the brain.
Regardless of the cause of the cognitive decline, the lesson is that our body’s structures are intertwined. Brain health necessarily affects the heart and vice-versa. Therefore, keeping ourselves healthy through proper diet, exercise, and proper treatment by a cardiologist is very important, no matter what stage of life or health we may be in.
Staying Heart Healthy Starts With Proper Diagnosis and Treatment
It becomes vital to begin an appropriate screening regimen for your heart health as you get older. However, if you are experiencing heart conditions such as arrhythmias, angina, and more, it is essential that you see a qualified cardiologist like those at The Heart House as soon as possible. Of course, if you experience an emergency, don’t delay in calling 911 or visiting your nearest emergency room. Patients need to remember that while heart attacks are traumatic events, we have more effective treatment tools than ever before. Surviving a heart attack rarely leads to permanent severe disability but makes it all the more important to prioritize your general and mental health.