Is There a Link Between Depression and Heart Disease?

Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: August 21, 2019

heart disease depression tampa cardio

If you have ever been through a bout with depression you know that it may at times feel similar to a broken heart. You feel sadness in your chest. The question becomes if you feel heart-based sadness is your emotion actually causing physical damage?

Recent research has shown that the link between the two actually goes both ways. Depression can be bad for your heart as well as those with heart disease may be more likely to experience symptoms of depression.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • 1 out of 3 American citizen’s cause of death will be heart disease.
  • Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Depression is the #1 listed of disability worldwide.
  • 1 out of every 20 adults in America goes through major depression each year.
  • 1 out of 3 heart attack survivors experiences major depression each year.
  • People with a history of depression are 4 times more likely to experience a heart attack within 14 years than those who have no history of depression.
  • Heart disease patients with depression are 4 times more likely to die within 6 months than those without depression.

With statistics like these, it is obvious that heart disease and depression are interrelated. The how and why is a much more complex issue.

Let’s look at the potential ways that depression may lead to heart disease. Ever heard the phrase “stress kills”? While this statement may seem overly dramatic, it has a basis in medical facts. When a person is stressed the hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released and the sympathetic nervous system is activated. This is what is known as the “fight or flight” response. When depressed, it can result in an elevated level of these hormones that doesn’t subside when the situation does. This can have a detrimental effect on the heart, especially over time.

On the flip side, depression has been shown to occur as a result of heart disease. In one study, nearly 50% of all patients examined a week following a major heart disease surgery showed emerging signs of clinical depression. The relationship between heart disease and depression is still under going study, one potential answer is that patients who have recently undergone major heart surgery tend to feel sluggish and unlike themselves. They find it trying to get back into their regular routines. If the regular routines have been altered by heart disease or they are forced to change their lifestyles more than marginally in order to adjust to new health concerns, they will understandably start to feel a sense of frustration which can lead to a negative spiral of thought and feeling.

These patients often don’t receive the correct medical treatment in order to address both issues at the same time. This can in part be due to the actions of the patient directly, as depression can make it difficult for people to remember to take care of themselves, and patients may forget to take their medications or simply not feel the motivation to do so.

Often they also lack the motivation as well as the energy to even simply keep their follow-up appointments. Many cardiologists and primary care doctors don’t have the experience with or exposure to patients with mental illness the way psychiatrists and psychologists do, and may not be able to properly recognize when a patient is experiencing depression. Because of this, heart disease patients with depression often get overlooked for their depression and aren’t effectively treated.

There are still a lot of unknowns regarding the relationship between depression and heart disease. For compassionate cardiologists who care about the overall health of their patients and not just medical issues addressed by them specifically, contact the Tampa Cardiovascular Associates by calling (813) 975-2800 today. Our physicians are always here for you and are happy to address any concerns you have related to your heart health or to refer you to a qualified mental health specialist.

Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: 21/08/2019

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