A review of the evidence by Harvard Women's Health Watch looked at the links between anxiety and physical illness. A recent New Zealand study found links between high levels of anxiety and the development of irritable bowel syndrome. Most studies have found a high rate of anxiety symptoms and panic attacks in people with chronic respiratory disorders such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with women at greater risk than men. In studies involving COPD patients anxiety has been associated with more frequent hospitalization and more severe distress. Anxiety disorders have also been linked to the development of heart disease and to heart attacks in people who already have heart disease. Two recent studies concluded that among people with heart disease those suffering from an anxiety disorder were twice as likely to have a heart attack.
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