Depressions Link To Heart Disease


While depression can certainly feel like a broken heart the question becomes is it possible for depression to cause actual physical damage to your heart? Research has shown that it can work both ways heart disease can sometimes cause depression and the opposite of that, severe long-lasting depression can cause heart disease also.

Let’s look at the statistics:

The leading cause of death in America is heart disease.

This pertains to 1 in 3 Americans.

Depression is #1 disability claimed not just here, but worldwide. It affects 1 in 20 adults at some point in their lifetime.

1/3 of all heart attack survivors will experience depression post heart attack.

Those who have a history of depression are four times more likely to have a heart attack within the next decade than those who have no history of depression.

Heart disease patients with depression are far more likely to die within 6 months than those without depression.

It quickly becomes obvious that depression and heart disease are linked and that it is a very complex issue.

When a person feels stress, the hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released and the sympathetic nervous system is activated, initiating what is referred to as the “fight or flight” response. During a depression, it can result in chronically elevated levels, a situation that can have damaging effects on the heart muscle over time.

On the flip side, depression has been known to take hold as a result of heart disease itself. In one study, nearly 1/2 of all patients a week following a major heart disease surgery showed beginning signs of clinical depression.


The relationship between heart disease and depression is still being studied, early results show that one plausible answer is that patients who have recently undergone major heart surgery tend to feel slow and sluggish, finding it difficult to get back into their regular routines. They just don’t feel like their old healthy selves. If their regular routines have been threatened by heart disease or they must change their lifestyles drastically in order to adjust to new health concerns, they will start to feel sad, depressed, and discouraged and many have been quoted as feeling like a shell of who they formerly were.

Treating Depression & Heart Disease is Tricky

Heart disease patients who have clinical depression often don’t receive the correct medical treatment that works on both issues. When depressed its often difficult for patients to remember to take care of themselves properly, and may forget to take their medications. They may also lack the energy to keep follow-up appointments which can set them further back.

Many cardiologists and primary care doctors don’t have the experience with patients with mental illness the way psychiatrists and psychologists do. Because of this, they may not be able to recognize when a patient is experiencing depression. It is because of this the symptoms may go overlooked.

There are still a lot of unknown factors when it comes to the relationship between depression and heart disease. For compassionate cardiologists who care about the overall health of their patients and not just medical issues addressed by them specifically, contact the Tampa Cardiovascular Associates by calling (813) 975-2800 today.

Our physicians are always here for you and are happy to address any concerns you have related to your heart health or to refer you to a qualified mental health specialist.

Depressions Link To Heart Disease

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

    Twitter not configured.