Anxiety as an emotion can be a good thing forcing us to take extra precautions and triggering fight or flight response. However, if anxiety persists, it can undermine our physical health and predispose us to some chronic medical conditions.
The most common conditions affected or influenced by anxiety are different gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory disorders, and heart disease.


Gastrointestinal disorders.

Between 10% and 20% of Americans are affected by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or functional dyspepsia. In these disorders, the nerves regulating digestion appear to be hypersensitive to stimulation. Although there is no firm evidence of correlation between anxiety and digestive disorders, a recent New Zealand study found a link between high anxiety levels and the development of IBS.

Chronic respiratory disorders.

Many studies have spotted a high rate of anxiety symptoms and panic attacks in patients suffering from chronic respiratory disorders such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with women being at greater risk. In COPD patients, anxiety has been associated with frequent hospitalization and with more severe distress at every level of lung function.

Heart disease.

Anxiety disorders have been associated with the development of heart disease and to heart attacks in people already suffering from heart disease. Some recent studies confirmed that among people with heart disease, those suffering from an anxiety disorder were twice as likely to have a heart attack as those with no history of anxiety disorders.

Luckily, it has been proved that understanding and treating anxiety would often improve the outcome for people with chronic diseases.