Many factors can lead to depression, including a person’s family history, high levels of stress, physical health and/or state of mind. In recent years, research is showing a strong link between depression and heart disease. Findings indicate that people who are depressed are more likely to develop coronary heart disease. The unfortunate thing is that it goes both ways. An article in the American Heart Journal reports that up to 15 percent of patients with cardiovascular disease and up to 20 percent of patients who have undergone coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery experience major depression. Temporary feelings of sadness or depression are normal after a heart procedure and usually go away as one gets back to their normal activities.
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If they go on for more than a couple weeks, it is important to talk to a physician. Early detection and treatment of depression in heart patients are crucial to improve a patient’s quality of life and possibly prevent a recurrent coronary event.
Treatment? Physicians agree that feelings of depression can be effectively treated with antidepressants, counseling, diet, relaxation techniques and regular exercise.
Do you have questions about depression and heart disease?
Leo Pozuelo, MD, staff psychiatrist and section head of Consultation Psychiatry will be hosting a web chat on Stress, Depression and Heart Disease tomorrow -Wednesday June 29 at noon, EST. Dr. Pozuelo works with many patients in the Heart and Vascular Institute addressing stress management, depression and anxiety. Ask your questions now – June 28. They will be answered tomorrow during the chat. Register now.