Over the past 20 years, research has been conducted to determine the link between heart disease and depression. Today, depression is considered one of the causes of heart disease. A Baltimore, MD study shows that of the 1,551 people involved in the study (all of which were free of cardiac disease when the study began) those participants with a history of depression were four times more likely to suffer a heart attack within the next 14 years than those individuals who did not. Additionally, researchers in Canada discovered that depressed heart patients were four times more likely to die within the next six months than those patients who were not depressed.
Heart Failure Mortality Rates and Depression
Dr. Bruce L. Rollman is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is a professor of medicine, biomedical informatics, psychiatry and clinical and translational science. Dr. Rollman’s research shows that heart failure survivors with depressive symptoms upon hospital admission, had a 20 percent mortality rate at one-year post admission; this difference is substantial when compared to an 8 percent mortality rate of patients who did not show any symptoms.
One in Five Heart Attack Patients Suffer with Depression
Dr. Roy Ziegelstein is an acclaimed cardiologist and the Executive Vice Chairman for the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. One study that Dr. Zieglestein participated in, indicates that one in five heart attack patients suffer depression in a relatively short time after the heart attack. He states that depression is just as prevalent among those who suffer heart failure, maybe even more.
Bypassing the Blues Trial
Dr. Bruce L. Rollman is the principal investigator for the Bypassing the Blues Trial. This trial examined the effectiveness of telephone treatment for depression following a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). Nurses led the collaborative care intervention. Once the procedure was complete and patients returned home, nurses called them to ask how they were feeling. Nurses informed patients, who indicated symptoms of depression, about their treatment options. The Bypassing the Blues Trial confirmed that CABG patients that are treated for depression heal faster than those CABG patients who are not. The results of this trial are published in the September/October 2014 issue of General Hospital Psychiatry.
Depression Can Cause Physical Changes within the Body
People suffering with depression sometimes have extremely sticky platelets. Platelets are the tiny cells responsible for causing the blood to clot. This is extremely dangerous for individuals who have cardiovascular disease as this could accelerate the hardening of the arteries, which increases their chance of suffering a heart attack.
When an individual is depressed following a heart attack, his/her motivation may be lacking. He/She may skip medications, stop exercising and/or eat unhealthy foods. If a patient smokes or drinks alcohol, depression could cause the use of these products to intensify.
Depression can cause changes in the nervous system and hormone levels. These changes increase the likelihood for a disturbance in the heart’s rhythm. The damage caused by a heart attack combined with the patient’s depression make him/her even more susceptible of suffering a fatal heart rhythm abnormality.
If you or someone you love needs a cardiologist, contact Arizona Cardiovascular Treatment Center today. We have 21 board certified heart doctors who are dedicated to improving the heart health of our patients.