Is it true that depression can cause heart disease?

Is it true that depression can cause heart disease?

Yes. Even 10-15 years ago medical researchers have begun testing among patients suffering from depression. For 10 years from 1300 patients nearly 1/4 or 25% have diagnosed with heart disease, chest pain, myocardial stroke, and for 1-2% it was fatal.

Strong negative emotions – sadness, anger, fear can negatively affect the activity of the heart. The result has increased the risk of future heart disease.

Heart disease and depression – a connection that we can not ignore

Depression and heart disease are the two most serious health problem in developed countries. Risk factors for coronary heart disease are hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and obesity. In the last decade, there are lots of evidence for the link between depression and heart disease. Depression itself as a serious risk factor and can lead to heart disease and worsen its prognosis.

Depression affects 6% of men and 18% of women in the general population. In patients with different diseases, it reaches 40%. In developed countries only ischemic heart disease is more common than depression. Appropriate action for the prevention and treatment of depression is an enormous and still unresolved problem.

On average 15% of those suffering from “depression” commit suicide. Although the incidence of depression is high, currently it is underdiagnosed and under-treated.

Depression is established as an independent risk factor for hearts diseases. Moreover – the mechanisms underlying this relationship become clearer. Actively is developing the treatment of depression. There are new studies on the connection between antidepressants and other medications that take the cardiac patients.

Depression as a risk factor for heart disease

The relationship between depression and heart disease is actually functioning in both directions. A depressive episode increases the risk of complications by the coronary bypass, heart failure, and stroke.

Moreover, recently highlighted the role of anxiety, social isolation and lower economic status as factors associated with heart disease. Increasingly is considered that anxiety can be an independent risk factor for heart disease, which is even more important than depression. Now there is no doubt that depression is a risk factor and the statistics show that depression is associated with a higher risk of myocardial infarction.

What cardiologists say: Relax!

Chronic depression leads to heart disease independent of genetic predisposition to them. This data is from the Medical University of Washington.

Scientists have completed the systematization of data from 1,200 identical men twins. Half of them have served in the US Army in hot spots of the world and their brothers have led an ordinary life. It became clear that soldiers suffer from heart disease twice as often than others. When they analyzed the risk factors (smoking, obesity, lifestyle, age, income level), cardiologists concluded that depression is the”reason” of a heart attack.

Thanks to DNA identical twins, doctors proved that emotional depression, nerve experiences and constant stress have a significant contribution to the development of heart disease and that in more than genes.

Women with depression are more likely to have heart problems

Women suffering from depression are at greater risk of occurrence of heart diseases. This conclusion reached Canadian doctors who created the first ever analysis of data from the medical statistics. The survey was made among 5000 men and women aged over 40 years who in 2001-2002 did not have heart disease. Then the researchers evaluated data on their health over the next 12 years.

It was found that in 2015 19% of men and 15% of women suffered from heart disease. But among women with depression, morbidity was higher.

“Cardiovascular diseases commonly occurring in men, while depression is more common by women. We studied whether depression affects regardless of gender on the probability of occurrence of heart diseases. The study found that women are at greater risk, “said the author Hizar Gilmur by Statistics Canada.

Depression was observed three times more common in patients who have suffered a heart attack compared to the others. Many people suffering from a heart disease show some of the symptoms of depression. For patients who have already had a heart attack, the depression increases the risk of recurrence of the event over the next few years. People with heart disease who are depressed usually more often complain of different symptoms related to the activity of the heart, such as high blood pressure, rapid pulse, shortness of breath.

In conclusion

Depression may increase the risk in several ways. People with depression have higher levels of stress hormones in the blood, which along with other factors increases their blood pressure and the risk of developing heart disease. Furthermore, those previous studies have shown that people with depression are more likely smoking, eating unhealthy products and have a sedentary life. It is also possible other symptoms that often accompany depression, such as anger or anxiety, to be responsible for this risk.

Therefore, we should not lightly look over depression, because it is not always “harmless.” Very often we consider unnecessary a meeting with a psychotherapist. This can not only help us to deal with the depressive period but to protect us from further health problems.

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About Jane Peterson

Jane Peterson is a supportive nutrition and fitness coach and registered dietitian nutritionist known for her health advices and innovative ideas to inspire and motivate people to reach their goals. She has a passion for personal training and enjoys motivating people, using specific exercise programs and track their progression for success. As a parent herself, Jane Peterson knows what it means to have to work hard to keep a good shape during pregnancy and after having a baby. She is interested about improving the way children eat, pediatric nutrition and family meal planning. Jane has several years of personal and professional experience and is practicing as a freelance food and health writer. She works personally with a small number of hand picked clients, transforming their health and their physiques using her four key elements of wellness: lifestyle, exercise, nutrition and supplementation.