How can crying affect your health?

The heart cries with you

“To die of a broken heart”, “It touched her heart”, “He was a heartbreaker” - popular wisdom is also echoed in modern psychocardiology. Because mental problems can actually make our “pump” sick.

Heart attacks and strokes are still the leading cause of death - obviously the result of high blood pressure and an unhealthy lifestyle (too much food, too much alcohol, too many cigarettes, too little exercise). But the relationships are much more complex. "In psychosomatics we see the biological, emotional and social levels closely interwoven, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases," says Dr. Georg Titscher, head of the psychocardiology focus at the Vienna Hanusch Hospital.

Sometimes all three factors appear in isolation, but mostly together and have a correspondingly reinforcing effect. But seen in isolation, mental ailments such as depression and psychosocial problems such as unemployment, partnership problems, but also the death of a loved one can actually go to the heart and, unfortunately, also contribute to the heart attack. Depressed people also tend to compensate for their emotional state with too much alcohol, too many cigarettes or overeating, which is not exactly healthy for the blood vessels.


Depression is the proverbial heartbreaker. Compared to emotionally healthy people, those affected have a higher heart rate and limited heart rate variability. Depression also has an impact on the hormonal balance. In depressed people, too little of the "happiness hormone" serotonin is formed. This acts as a neurotransmitter (messenger substance) in the brain. It is strongly mood-enhancing, relaxing, sleep-promoting, pain-relieving and motivational. But it is also active as a hormone in the blood. Among other things, it regulates the width of blood vessels. When a blood vessel is injured, platelets release this hormone. Serotonin contracts and constricts the blood vessel. If the excess of platelets becomes too large, constrictions can occur in the whole body - including in the heart.

How paralyzed

Conversely, those with heart disease are prone to depression. A cardiological disease, especially a heart attack, is a drastic experience, a shock, for many people affected. Titscher: “You see yourself threatened in your life and are limited in your performance and your life planning. The shock can lead to feelings of paralysis, despair, and dejection. In some people these anxiety-inducing feelings disappear again, but some become depressed. "

Pink glasses

With rose-colored glasses it is not only easier to live, but also longer and healthier. At least in women, this connection seems to have been scientifically proven. An American study from the University of Pittsburgh included nearly 100,000 healthy women between the ages of 50 and 79 for eight years. The optimistic women had a nine percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to the pessimistic ones. A positive outlook on life even prevented premature death - 14 percent fewer of the optimistic women died during the eight-year observation phase. Those who were cynical and hostile, on the other hand, had a 16 percent increased risk of dying in the course of the study.

Over the hat string

Even the non-medical practitioner knows that anger, anger and stress not only raise the hat string, but also raise blood pressure. The stress hormones cortisone and adrenaline are then upregulated and let your heart rate, breathing and metabolism run at full speed. It is obvious that these mechanisms also have a permanent negative impact on human health.

Burn-out symptoms, such as states of exhaustion, feelings of inferiority, the inability to express one's feelings, are not beneficial to the health of the heart, because feelings interact with the body, as we use the term "psychosomatics" - that is, psycho = soul and soma = Body clarified.

Tako Tsubo Syndrome

Even extreme shock experiences can trigger symptoms such as a heart attack in a healthy person. The ventricles of the heart cramp up and resemble a Takotsubo, a Japanese squid trap. The disease was named after her. Dr. Titscher: “Unlike a heart attack, most people recover from their 'broken' heart. This broken heart syndrome, as the disease is also known, affects only a few people, mostly women after the menopause. "

Holistic approach

Dr. Titscher: "Psychocardiology - a discipline of psychosomatic medicine - has a holistic approach." Drug treatment has just as important therapeutic value as psychotherapy or the administration of psychotropic drugs. The anamnesis of a heart attack also includes why a person smokes like a chimney, what he is stressed about, all reasons that set the heart.

Mental hygiene

The findings of psychocardiology also provide valuable information on prevention. Mental hygiene also means heart health. Anyone who has something on their mind should say it openly more often.

Elisabeth Dietz-Buchner
April 2011

Photo: picture box

‌ Last updated on May 11, 2020