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How Your Mental Health Affects Your Physical Health

How Your Mental Health Affects Your Physical Health

City Care Family Practice, located in the Lower Midtown area of Manhattan, offers New York residents of all ages the highest quality medical care available in a family-friendly environment that’s always patient-focused.

Our team of expertly trained physicians and a nurse practitioner are actively invested in helping you experience the healthiest life possible. That includes focusing on your mental as well as your physical well-being and the connection between the two.  

What exactly is mental health?

Mental health is a broad term that refers to your social, emotional, and psychological well-being. It essentially describes how you think, feel, and behave as you interact with the world around you. Your ability to make healthy choices as you solve problems, handle stress, and overcome difficulties are also components of mental health.

How are mental and physical health connected?

Emotions and thoughts, which are part of your mental health, can trigger chemical changes in your brain that affect the way your physical self responds to circumstances in your environment.

Fear over losing your job, for instance, can cause your brain to direct the release of various hormones and other chemicals such as adrenaline that control your body’s fight-or-flight response to danger.

These substances speed up your heartbeat and breathing, elevate your blood pressure, and reduce blood flow to surface areas such as your skin while increasing the amount of blood available to your muscles and brain. 

This stress response causes your muscles to tense as you prepare for action and your pupils to enlarge so that you can see better.

While they’re meant to be temporary and are designed to help you escape a dangerous situation, chronic worry, anxiety, or fear can cause these physical reactions to continue, which can eventually impact your health.  

Choices you make in response to emotions can also affect your physical health. If you reach for ice cream or other high fat or sugary snacks when you’re sad, it can impact your weight, blood sugar levels, and overall health.

Notably, when your brain perceives that you feel better after eating those treats, it stores that information. It then releases chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) like dopamine that cause you to crave those same foods or substances whenever you’re feeling anxious or sad.

Sleep and your health

Many mood disorders as well as a hectic or stressful life often lead to poor sleep habits. Decreased sleep has a direct impact on both your mental and physical health. Adults who get less than seven to eight hours of restful sleep each night are at higher risk of weight gain,  diabetes, elevated blood pressure, and heart disease. Poor sleep can also worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.  

Physical conditions that may be related to poor mental health

Poor mental health has been linked to various chronic diseases and conditions, including:

The team at City Care Family Practice can identify ways your mental health is affecting your physical self. We then design a personalized, multipronged treatment approach that may include therapy, improved nutrition, increased physical activity, and other healthy choices that improve your mood as well as your physical well-being before prescribing medication.

Take steps now to prevent your mental health from affecting your physical health. Schedule an evaluation today by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.

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