Question: Can an anxiety disorder increase my risk of developing other medical conditions?
Answer: What is remarkable is that anxiety disorders may actually increase the risk of developing other medical illnesses, such as coronary artery disease or illnesses related to migraines. With regard to the heart, studies have shown that people with stable coronary artery disease may go on to develop major complications if they have an anxiety disorder.This may include a heart attack, or even cardiac-related death. In addition, the phobias have been shown to increase the risk for ventricular fibrillation, which is an irregular heartbeat that may be lethal.
Another factor that's related to anxiety disorders is a factor called heart rate variability, where the rhythm of the heart varies. Anxiety disorders increase the chance that heart rate variability will increase as well.
With regard to migraine, the story is a little less clear. One study has shown that anxiety disorders can lead to migraine headaches, and that migraine headaches can also lead to anxiety disorders. The verdict is still out with regard to what causes what.
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