Anxiety and Cardiovascular Disease

Anxiety and Cardiovascular Disease

The Cardiac Behavioral Medicine team specializes in helping patients and their families adjust to a diagnosis and cope with challenges throughout the course of treatment. The team's techniques include strategies that encourage behavior change, improve coping strategies, minimize stress, reduce emotional distress, help with extended hospitalizations, and prepare for an upcoming procedure or surgery.

Patients with cardiovascular disease—in particular, those with implantable cardiac devices including pacemakers and ventricular assist devices—have a higher incidence of anxiety. It’s common to feel a loss of control or predictability, which can create symptoms of anxiety including:

  • Loss of sleep
  • Jittery feelings
  • Change in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Anxiety can slow healing and increase the risk of repeat cardiac events, but it is manageable. The Northwestern Medicine Cardiac Behavioral Medicine team helps patients develop strategies that minimize anxiety, including relaxation exercises, visualization, breathing techniques and more.

Patients with anxiety related to their cardiovascular disease may also experience depression or stress, and may benefit from changing lifestyle behaviors. We also offer guidance on recovery from a cardiac event and help with preparing for and recovering from surgery.

Meet the Cardiac Behavioral Medicine Team

Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is a nationally recognized destination for those who require highly specialized cardiovascular care.
Meet the Team
Downtown Chicago