heartdrawingFatigue, increased irritability and feeling demoralized — a combination known as vital exhaustion — may raise the risk of first-time cardiovascular disease in otherwise healthy men and women, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014.

Researchers examined the relationship between vital exhaustion and first-time heart disease in 11 prospective studies that involved more than 60,000 people without heart disease. The studies had an average six and half years of follow-up.

After adjusting for other factors, researchers observed a 36 percent increased risk of developing first-time cardiovascular disease from vital exhaustion.

“Vital exhaustion is a significant risk factor for incident cardiovascular disease in healthy subjects, comparable to some of the other psychological risk factors for cardiac disease,” researchers said.