Heart Disease

Depression can be linked with other medical conditions including heart disease.  Although the two often co-occur, it can not be determined if one causes the other.  What has been noted, is that individuals who suffer from depression may develop heart disease at a higher rate than the general population.  Additionally, patients who have experienced a heart attack and have had no previous symptoms of depression, may become depressed.

There are many concerns when a patient is suffering from depressive symptoms after a heart attack or being diagnosed with heart disease.  First, shared symptoms such as low energy, fatigue, and sleep disturbances can often make it difficult to diagnose.  It can be challenging for an individual to follow their medication plan or other courses of treatment, thus reducing a person’s overall mental and physical health.

A person may experience a number of things after having a heart attack that can impact their psychological state.  Individuals may feel uncertain about their future. Feelings of guilt over previous or continual unhealthy habits and/or embarrassment over diminished physical ability may lead to self-doubt, feelings of worthlessness, and lack of confidence.

If you are concerned you may be depressed, talk to your physician.  Proper treatment of depression is essential and can help facilitate lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, exercising, eliminating alcohol, tobacco or other drugs and reduce the risk of future heart problems.  It’s also so important to reach out for support.  Talk to trusted family members or friends about your concerns.  Recovery programs are also available to help individuals return to normal activity levels, which can boost confidence and improve mood.

Helpful Resources:

Johns Hopkins University

National Institute of Mental Health