Depression and Your Heart

Depression may worsen outcomes for patients with heart disease

(RxWiki News) Those with heart disease may have worse outcomes if they also have depression, according to a new study.

Even undiagnosed depression can have a negative impact on patients with heart disease, this new study found. Patients with depression who had a heart attack were more likely to be hospitalized, more likely to have emergency room visits and had higher health costs when compared to those not diagnosed with depression.

“While we don’t know which comes first — depression or cardiovascular disease — the consensus is that depression is a risk marker for cardiovascular disease, meaning if you have cardiovascular disease, there is a higher likelihood that you could also have depression, when compared with the risk in the general population,” said lead researcher Dr. Victor Okunrintemi, a research fellow at Baptist Health South Florida, in a press release.

The study authors noted that about one-fifth of heart disease patients also had depression.

“Depression and heart attack often coexist, which has been associated with worse health experiences for these patients,” Dr. Okunrintemi said.

As a result, the study authors called for more aggressive depression screening at follow-up visits for heart attack patients.

Depression is a disorder of the brain that can have a variety of causes, such as genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors. It is more than just a feeling of being sad or "blue" for a few days. Depression is when these feelings do not go away.

If you have depression, you are not alone. Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. It affects millions of people each year.

If you feel depressed or have experienced a loss of interest or pleasure for a two-week period, notify your health care provider. Other symptoms that may help diagnose depression include significant weight loss or gain when not dieting, trouble sleeping, extreme tiredness, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, unintentional and purposeless motions (restlessness), diminished ability to think or concentrate and recurrent suicidal thoughts.

Depression can be treated. Treatments include antidepressants like escitalopram, sertraline, venlafaxine, duloxetine and vilazodone. Your health care provider will determine the best treatment for you.

The results of this preliminary research were presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2018.