May 8, 2015
The Link Between Depression And Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease is build up of plaque in the coronary arteries which are arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. This is a condition of atherosclerosis which leads to blockages. Due to the plaque the arteries will get narrow and rigid thus restricting blood flow to the heart. This causes limited oxygen and vital nutrients the heart needs to pump properly raising the risk of blood clots and heart attack.
Studies have shown that depression is commonly present in patients with CHD and is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Available studies suggest that both major depression and elevated depressive symptoms are considerably higher among people with CHD living in the community as compared to individuals without it. There is general agreement that depression remains associated with at least a doubling in risk of cardiac events over one to two years after an myocardial infraction.
Depression has been associated with adverse cardiac outcomes. A coronary heart disease and depression study that was performed from 2002 to 2004 involved 5,936 participants. After a follow up of a little over five years, the age and sex-adjusted hazard ratios for death for this cause was 4.99 compared to participants with only CHD which was 1.67 ratio, and patients with only depressive symptoms of 2.1 ratio. In comparison with non-depressed individuals, depressed patients with CHD frequently have higher levels of biomarkers found to predict cardiac events or promote atherosclerosis.
Another study based on National Health Interview Survey data of 30,801 adults found the 12 month prevalence of major depression to be 9.3% in individuals with cardiac disease as compared with 4.8% in those with no comorbid medical illness. The study found that coexistence of major depression with chronic conditions is associated with more ambulatory care visits, emergency department visits, days spent in bed because of illness, and functional disability.
In conclusion depression has been linked with increased morbidity and mortality, poorer risk factor modification, lower rates of cardiac rehabilitation, and reduced quality of life. It has also been proven that CHD is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women. To treat and prevent patients from having more problems with heart disease, patients that are depressed and have heart disease should be monitered regularly. Antidepressant drugs, cognitive behavioral therapy, and physical activity such as aerobic exercise are good ways to help prevent major heart incidents in people with depression. Researchers are still unsure of exactly why this occurs. But they do know that some symptoms of depression may reduce ones overall physical and mental health, increasing the risk for heart disease or making symptoms of heart disease worse.
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