The term “cardiac condition” includes lots of different diagnoses and can be a confusing topic to navigate. All of these illnesses can potentially affect the way you are able to do physical activities and subsequently might have an impact on your mood or your mental health. This is because your heart might not be functioning in the same way as it used to, and therefore cannot pump enough oxygen around your body compared to normal. This can cause tiredness, frustration, and sometimes, uncomfortable physical symptoms.
The umbrella term of “cardiac conditions” is made up of a number of different medical issues, the most common being:
Your diagnosis might not be listed above. If not, don’t worry. We work with all kinds of conditions that are associated with your heart.
How we can help
Cardiac conditions and anxiety
Symptoms of anxiety include chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, sweating, feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint, palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate, nausea, numbness, and tingling sensations. There is so much of an overlap between symptoms of a heart attack and symptoms of anxiety. It is no wonder that people get confused between the two! Anxiety around a heart condition may cause you to avoid doing certain activities for fear of how it may impact on your heart, or you may find that you are going to the GP more frequently or calling an ambulance because you are misinterpreting anxiety symptoms as dangerous. We would never advise that if you think you are experiencing a heart attack that you should ignore the symptoms, but there are techniques that we use to support the anxiety-related behaviour and thoughts related to cardiac conditions.
Cardiac conditions and low mood
Heart conditions can have a major effect on your life. They might lead to you having to give up some of your favourite activities for a while. You might have to attend more appointments. You might have to take more medications. All of this can lead you to only see the negative aspects and lose your focus on the positive aspects of life. It can lead to feeling frustrated between the differences in what your life used to be, compared to what it is now. When we feel frustrated or low, you may find that your activity levels reduce altogether or pacing yourself becomes difficult. How much your heart condition affects your mood can be very different from someone else with the same condition. It can depend on the support someone has, the resources available, or even the consequences of the condition for the specific person’s life. It is different for everyone but we can help with reducing the negative thinking and balancing your activities.
What we offer
Living Well with a Heart Condition course
We offer a course that provides you with everything you need to know in order to live better with the symptoms of your heart condition. You will be provided with a lot of contact time with 90-minute sessions, and you can meet others who are going through the same difficulties as you. The course is for 6 weeks and covers the following:
- Introduction to cardiac conditions and CBT;
- Dealing with anxious behaviours;
- Managing worries and relaxation;
- Dealing with low mood with behaviour change;
- Challenging your thoughts;
- Sleep, self-compassion, and maintaining well-being.
We can offer one-to-one support to those with more difficult and pervasive symptoms of their cardiac conditions, who might also present with other difficulties that might not be covered in our Living Well with a Heart Condition course. You might typically start with 6 sessions and your therapist might adjust this where necessary. At your initial assessment, your therapist will decide whether one-to-one support will be beneficial for you using their knowledge and expertise.
Want our support?
You can self-refer by filling out the form on our Refer Yourself page. Alternatively, if you’re unsure, or wish to talk things through a bit more, please speak to your GP or your main cardiac healthcare professional.