Risk Factor for Those with Heart Disease Increases When Combined With Depression

Medical experts say that adding stress and major depression to existing heart disease leads to a heightened risk of heart attack or death.

A Columbia University Medical Center study looked at nearly 4,500 patients with a diagnosis of heart disease. All the patients in the study were at least 45 years old and were surveyed several times over a five year time span. During home visits researchers asked patients questions designed to evaluate stress level or degree of depression during the week prior.

Researchers then followed up the series of questionnaires six years later. In that period, 1,337 patients had died due to heart attack and six percent were experiencing a high degree of stress or severe depression. Researchers then compared the high depression and stress patients with the lower level patients. They discovered a 48 percent higher chance of heart attack within 2.5 years of their first home survey for those who reported high depression and high stress.

This means that adding stress and depression to an existing heart condition could be a deadly combination. While many patients with chronic health conditions (like heart disease) face depression or stress, these conditions can be managed. With help, patients can learn to cope with stress in ways that lower its severity. Depression also can be treated.

If you have heart disease and are feeling tense or depressed, this could be a serious combination. While you’re not unusual for facing these problems, you don’t have to continue this way. You can learn to manage them. At Family Guidance Center we know how to help. Don’t just accept a risky mix of chronic illness and depression or stress. Call us and come see how you can learn to manage triggers and return to quality of life.