stethoscope and healthcare business graphic composite

Happiness and the Heart

Heart shape in the sand

This month the Boca Grande Health Clinic has focused on heart disease – its causes and symptoms and ways to prevent it through healthy choices. In addition to the warnings signs you may be aware of like high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol and obesity – did you know that your mental health is associated with heart disease?

Depression, anxiety, stress, or posttraumatic stress disorder over a long period of time can create physiologic effects on the body, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced blood flow to the heart, and increased levels of cortisol. Over time, these physiologic effects can lead to calcium buildup in the arteries and heart disease.

Feeling connected to others benefits our heart health

Interestingly, studies also show that good connections and social support can improve health and increase longevity. It’s true that life in the times of Covid-19 make it more difficult to have the physical connections like greeting new people with a handshake or giving a friend a good hug. Many organizations and churches have embraced online forums to maintain connections for this very reason.

Taking an online class that intrigues you, discussing the plot of a mystery novel with a book club, helping out a neighbor who can’t get to the grocery store, adopting a dog or cat (or even watching animal videos) – are all ways to connect and create serotonin, which we like to call the “happiness chemical.” Joyful moments release serotonin, which can aid digestion, blood clotting and bone density and increase feelings of well-being, confidence and belonging.

Symptoms of Depression or Anxiety
Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the signs of depression or anxiety.

We all experience some worries in life

And these long months of dealing with COVID-19 have created added stress in the form of worry for yourself and loved ones getting ill, frustration with the vaccination process, having to mask up, being stuck at home and missing your friends and families. There’s a reason they call it a “heavy heart.”

Tune in to the Clinic’s upcoming webinar on Thursday, March 4 at 4:30 p.m. with Alexander P. Miano, MD, who will speak on identifying pandemic induced stressors and their effect on our daily life and finding ways to safely and effectively cope will be addressed during this free webinar. Click here to register.

The good news is that both heart disease and mental health conditions are treatable.

Learn More 

About the Author

Dr. James joined the Clinic in March 2018. A graduate of Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine, he completed his residency at Metropolitan Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is board certified in emergency medicine and has been awarded fellowship status by the American College of Emergency Physicians. Throughout his medical career, Dr. James […]

More Recent Healthcare News

  • Woman being vaccinated

    As of April 16, the Boca Grande Health Clinic will have vaccinated 1,471 patients and members of the Island community with their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 1,032 with their second dose. All Florida residents 18 years of age and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. With recent changes in eligibility, […]

  • The Boca Grande Health Clinic recently welcomed three new nurses to the Clinic’s care team. “We are proud to have such an amazing team of clinicians to serve our Island patients community,” said Mark Driscoll, Boca Grande Health Clinic CEO. “These three professionals have made joining a new team, which can be challenging during the […]

  • Portrait of Salim S Virani

    The Boca Grande Health Clinic and the Boca Grande Health Foundation are proud to welcome Salim S. Virani, MD, Ph.D., a tenured professor in Cardiology and Cardiovascular Research, Director for the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine, and Cardiologist at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, TX, to speak […]

  • BGHC Physicians

    National Doctors’ Day – the holiday that falls on March 30 every year to honor America’s physicians – took on much greater meaning in this second year of the pandemic. We did take time out at the Clinic for a brief celebration, but it was quickly back to what has become “business as usual” as […]