The Link between Heart Disease and Depression

heart disease depression

Depression is an independent risk factor for adverse cardiac events in patients without heart disease. Studies have shown that mental stress can have a general effect on a person’s heart.

It is possible for anxiety, unmanaged stress and other mental issues to increase the chance of developing high blood pressure. Furthermore, it is also possible for depression to cause arterial damage, arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythms) and depressed immune responses against invading infections. Moreover, coronary artery defects have been reported in people with a long-term history of depression.

Increased platelet reactivity has been suggested as the major link between depression and heart defects.  Depression causes increased risk of adverse cardiac events such as the developments of blood clots, atherosclerosis. The essential point is that depression, stress and other mental health problems can kill and heart disease, including depression, is widely recognized in medicine as a slow killer. This is mainly due to hormone overloads. Dumping massive amounts of hormones into the bloodstream can precipitate high blood pressure or in certain cases sudden cardiac deaths due to heart attacks. This results from the elevated levels of hormones in the bloodstream such as cortisol over longer periods it can bring on inflammation first, and heart disease later.

Poor lifestyle habits associated with depression such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, poor diet, and retention might also interfere with the medical treatment of depression which might lead to the development of heart disease.

Lifestyle measures to help manage depression and reduce the risk of developing heart disease:

Eat healthful foods

A balanced diet will make you feel better and even give you all the necessary nutrients and energy to live happily throughout the day. This has the advantage of improving the health of your heart, and decrease your risk of developing cardiac heart defects.

Regular Exercise

Exercise is an excellent form of therapy for individuals living with depression and other mental health issues. It also helps improve your heart health while helping you to be physically and emotionally strong

Consume Less Alcohol

As a depressant, alcohol lowers the levels of serotonin (the chemical that regulate mood) in your brain. Hence, heavy alcohol consumption may cause your depression to worsen. Alcohol also increases the risk of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attack or stroke. The American Heart Association recommends one to two drinks or less per day for men and one drink or less per day for women.

Alcohol can cause high blood pressure (hypertension), which increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. This begins by first causing weaknesses within your heart muscles, which can affect the lungs, liver, brain and other body systems, and eventually resulting to heart failure. Excessive alcohol consumption over longer periods can cause the heart to beat irregularly (arrhythmia) and has been linked to cases of sudden death.

Quit smoking

A common misconception among individuals living with depression is that smoking helps with their depression. Smoking is the number one preventable risk factor for developing heart disease. In fact, one effective way to prevent the risk of developing heart disease is to stop smoking.

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William Kellogg is a veteran writer who’s covered the subject of the intersection of technology, health and mental wellness for nearly two decades.
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