For Heart Event Survivors

Depression and heart disease

Depression and heart disease can be related. Find out how, and why it's so important to get help.

If you're recovering from a heart event, it makes sense that you'd feel sad. Even people with no history of depression can become depressed after a heart attack or after developing heart failure.

But did you know that it can work the other way? Depression can increase the risk of an adverse cardiac event in people with heart disease. And for people without heart disease, depression can increase the risk of a heart attack and development of coronary artery disease.

That's why it's so important to get treatment if you're suffering from depression.

Should you be concerned?

If you're not enjoying the things that used to give you pleasure, that's a sign you shouldn't ignore. Other causes of concern are your sleeping and eating habits- too much or too little of either could be troublesome.

If your depressed mood is severe and accompanied by other symptoms persisting every day for two or more weeks, it's time to seek treatment to help you cope and recover.

Getting help

The best start is to see your primary care physician. Depression and anxiety are among the 10 most common diagnoses in primary care, so your physician is likely to have experience in this area. Your doctor can give you a screening test to help determine the best course of action, which may include counseling, medication or - in many cases - both.

Recovering from your depression may take some time, but the treatments available are effective. And you'll benefit more than just your heart. In addition to helping you manage heart disease, treating your depression can also improve your overall health.

"Since then, I am in the process of quitting smoking and trying to lose weight - which is hard. I now take an 81mg aspirin regularly."
Tammy H., I am ProHeart Community Member