Mental illness plays havoc with the mind as well as the hear
A new study published in BioMedical Engineering draws a link between mental illness and widely fluctuating blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and organ damage. Researchers say there is clear evidence that mental illness interferes with the body's autonomic functions, including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and breathing.

Reduced heart rate variation (HRV) is common in people with mental illness and indicates that the body's stress response is poor, exacerbating the negative effects of chronic stress. Unlike a person's heart rate -- how many times a heart beats in a minute -- which is usually consistent, HRV is more complex and is the time between two heartbeats, which should change according to external stressors. Low HRV occurs when a person's body is in fight-or-flight mode, easily stressed and common in people with chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and mental health problems.

While large blood pressure variations (BPV) during the day are not ideal, at night the systolic pressure should dip by between 10-20 per cent to allow the heart to rest. The researchers found that in people with mental health issues, their blood pressure does not drop sufficiently at night. The reduced dipping -- under 10 per cent -- can be caused by many factors, including autonomic dysfunction, poor quality of sleep and disrupted circadian rhythms that regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/05/220503201650.htm
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