Ascension St. Joseph Hospital - How Burnout Affects Your Heart

TAWAS CITY, MI - If you’re feeling emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted for long periods of time, also known as ‘burnout,’ a medical study suggests you may be at an increased risk for atrial fibrillation.

While the link between long-term stress and heart health complications is well-established, this study is the first of its kind to look at the association between burnout. Published by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers surveyed more than 11,000 people and found that participants with high levels of extreme exhaustion were 20% more likely to develop atrial fibrillation, more commonly known as AFib or an irregular or rapid heartbeat.

Individuals may have AFib but don’t realize it because they don’t have any symptoms. Others may experience:

  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations (rapid, fluttering or pounding)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

“When a person has AFib, the normal beating in the upper chambers of the heart is irregular, and blood doesn’t flow as well as it should to the lower chambers of the heart,” explains Ascension St. Joseph Hospital cardiologist, John Collins, MD. “AFib may happen in brief episodes, or it may be a permanent condition and can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. Fortunately, AFib is the most common type of treated heart arrhythmia and can be managed with medicine, surgery and/or a combination of medicine and healthy lifestyle changes to manage AFib risk factors.”

Dr. Collins is one of several heart and vascular physicians at Ascension St. Joseph Hospital Heart Center in Tawas City who specialize in heart conditions like AFib as well as congestive heart failure, structural heart and valve care, peripheral artery disease and coronary artery blockages. The Ascension St. Joseph Hospital Heart Center offers a variety of diagnostic cardiac imaging and tests close to home and the care team works with individuals to help prevent heart attack or stroke, and manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol and irregular heartbeats.

For more information about AFib and other heart conditions as well as treatment options, contact the Ascension St. Joseph Hospital Heart Center at 989-362-3411.