According to the American Heart Association, almost 81 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease and another 19 million people experience depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. As depression takes its toll on the mind, heart disease causes issues with the heart and cardiovascular system. Interestingly enough, these two diseases could be related, scientists think.
What is the role of depression in people with heart disease?
Studies have shown that mental stress and depression have a negative effect on a person’s heart health. In particular:
- Unmanaged stress can lead to high blood pressure, artery damage, irregular heart beat, and a weakened immune system.
- One in six patients who have had a heart attack also have some form of clinical depression.
- Patients with heart failure and depression have an increased risk of being readmitted to the hospital within three months to one year.
- Depression is almost three times more common in patients after a heart attack than those in the general community.
So, it seems as though depression is related to heart disease in two ways: people experiencing depression are at an increased risk for heart disease and those who have heart disease and have had a heart attack are most likely to become depressed, thereby affecting recovery.
Help is available.
One thing is certain — if you think you’re depressed, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to seek help from a professional. Therapy, treatment and medication can not only brighten your mood and bring back your smile, but also help keep your heart healthy for a long time to come.
Visit us Memorial Hospital for more information!