The Co-Relation Between Depression And Heart Disease

by Dr. Anil Kumar

Are Depression And Heart Disease Linked? 

Depression and heart disease are two increasingly common and serious health concerns. While one affects the mind and the other the body, they are found to co-relate and the presence of one may increase the risk for the other. In some cases, they may occur simultaneously in an individual. 
While there is no clear evidence supporting either one as a causative factor for the other, there is an increasing understanding of the risk factor each possesses for the other. As per research studies, mild forms of depression are found in up to two-thirds of patients in hospital after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) with major depression generally being found in about 15% of CVD patients. 
In certain cases, there may be commonalities in symptoms and risk factors of heart disease and clinical depression. This is why it is important to visit a trusted cardiac hospital in Kannur for an accurate diagnosis of your health condition.

The Link Between Depression and Heart Disease

Feelings of stress, anxiety and depression can cause people to find comfort in unhealthy choices. These can range from lack of movement to craving comfort food and even indulging in poor habits such as smoking and increased alcohol consumption. Further, stress tends to elevate blood pressure and heart rate, increasing the risk of heart disease. 
Conversely, an episode of heart disease such as a stroke or heart attack can lead to feelings of depression in people. Additionally, a sedentary life following an attack or feelings of embarrassment and anxiety can elevate the risk for depression. 
Gender also plays a role in the link between these two. Women with depression are at a higher risk for developing heart disease than men. Additionally, research has found that within roughly five years of giving birth, women who had postpartum depression had a nearly 70 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. 

Common Risk Factors of Heart Disease and Depression
•    Sedentary lifestyle
•    Obesity
•    Diet rich in fat, sodium, and sugar
•    Smoking
•    Alcohol consumption
•    Certain medicines
•    Chronic stress

Common Symptoms of Heart Disease and Depression
•    Fatigue
•    Insomnia or poor sleeping habits
•    Low mood
•    Lack of energy
•    Poor concentration
•    Anxiety
•    Lack of appetite
As some of these symptoms overlap, it is important to receive an accurate diagnosis for the correct treatment. In case you notice any of the above symptoms, visit a known cardiac hospital in Kannur to check for heart disease. 

Tips to Improve Mental Health and Heart Health

Depression and heart disease can be extremely debilitating and affect one’s quality of life. Simple lifestyle habits can help support good overall health and reduce the risk of developing either condition. These include: 

A healthy diet
Diet plays a critical role in both physiological and psychological conditions. Eating a diet rich in processed food, saturated fat, sodium or sugar, can affect your body’s chemistry negatively. This increases the risk for heart disease due to blockages in the artery caused by fat deposits, hypertension, and other factors. Similarly, these foods can affect brain chemistry and reduce the secretion of dopamine and serotonin, the happy hormones.

Exercise regularly
A sedentary lifestyle can also increase the risk for these conditions. Simple changes such as short bursts of low-impact workouts or 30 minutes of walking daily can work wonders for your heart and mental health. Opt for a walk in nature or join a fun class such as dancing or yoga to add a bit of nature and social engagement to your routine.

Quit smoking
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. It hardens the arteries and restricts blood flow to the heart greatly elevating the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Additionally, though smokers find this activity relaxing, a constant influx of nicotine can lead to anxiety and tension, worsening mental health.

Reduce alcohol
A drink or so in moderation may be fine but daily indulging in this habit can be quite harmful. It is best to stick to alcohol during social events and avoid drinking it alone or at home. Also, be sure to eat before drinking to minimise its harmful effects. 

Depression and heart disease are often co-related and can follow one another. Healthy lifestyle habits can help you prevent them or manage them better. Consulting a mental health professional or a doctor at the top cardiac hospital in Kannur can ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis and timely treatment for optimum health.