Stress and anxiety bring many clients to the relaxing hands of their massage therapists. New research shows that among patients with heart disease, anxiety disorders appear to be associated with a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and even death.

As many as 24 percent to 31 percent of patients with heart disease also have symptoms of anxiety, according to a press release from Tilburg University, in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

“Compared with the extensive literature on depression in patients with coronary heart disease, relatively few studies have examined the role of anxiety,” the authors write. “Several studies have found that anxiety symptoms are predictive of disability, increased physical symptoms and worse functional status and quality of life in patients with coronary heart disease. However, studies examining anxiety as a risk factor for future coronary heart disease have yielded conflicting results.”

The report is running in the July issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

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