National Public Health Week: The deadly duo, depression and heart disease

National Public Health Week: The deadly duo, depression and heart disease

It is common knowledge that heart disease and depression influence each other tremendously. Recently, a new study attempted to determine the impact of depression on heart disease over a prolonged period of time and found that the disorder increased the risk of mortality.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimate that an adult passes away every 60 seconds due to a heart attack in the U.S. Not only that, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), every third death in the U.S. is because of heart disease. Depression isn’t far behind either. It affects around 15.7 million Americans at the moment, and is the leading cause of disability among individuals in the age group of 15 and 44, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Research shows link between depression and heart disease

The focus group of the new study largely included people who had been diagnosed with heart diseases, unstable or stable angina or heart attack. The researchers investigated about 25,000 patients registered with the Inter mountain Health System, the largest healthcare provider in Utah and Idaho. Each of the patients was clinically followed for a period of 10 years after been diagnosed with coronary heart disease.

Interestingly, 15 percent of these patients were diagnosed with depression post the diagnosis of their heart disease. This percentage was higher than the general population average of 7.5 to 10 percent.

The research team, led by Dr. Heidi May, a cardiovascular epidemiologist, adjusted various risk factors, such as gender, age, the onset of depression, medication along with chest pain, heart attacks and complications during follow-up. Having done all the adjustments, the research team found depression to be the strongest predictor that led to death in the focus group. There were 3,646 people diagnosed with depression in the focus group, out of which nearly 50 percent died during the study. About 38 percent of them, who weren’t diagnosed with depression, died over the course of the study.

Though similar studies have been done to observe the effects of depression and heart disease, this research is the first one to study the long-term effects of depression. Dr. May stresses the importance of recognizing depression in patients with heart disease when she says, “…it does not matter if depression emerges in the short-term or a few years down the road – it is a risk factor that continually needs to be assessed.”

Take action and seek help

It is a well-established fact that depression and heart disease are interrelated, and impact the person adversely if they occur in tandem. This is an important health issue, one which should be brought to public light, and no better time to do it than the National Public Health Week, which recognizes the contributions to and the importance of public health. It will be observed from April 3-9 this year, and it would serve us well if the relevance of the condition is researched and a result found.

Seeking help is usually the first step towards recovery. Often, a depressed person does not do that, as he feels ashamed of his own condition. Sovereign Health’s state-of-the-art mental health facilities and holistic environment work wonders for the health of patients recovering from serious disorders such as depression. Our mental health treatment centers in Los Angeles are strategically located for convenient access.

If you or your loved one is suffering from depression, contact our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 for further assistance. You can also chat online with our medical experts for any advice or query.

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