|Early Winter 2010|
|Depression After a Cardiac Event |
Depression After a Cardiac Event
After surviving a heart attack or other cardiac event, life
is bound to be different. Survivors may decide to make
changes in what they eat or how much they exercise.
Others may quit smoking or work on reducing stress.
What’s not expected is depression. According to leading
experts, cardiac events seem to trigger depression in many
people—often for the first time. Symptoms can crop up
within days or weeks after the cardiac incident occurs.
For some, these symptoms will go away on their own in
a few months. However, many people suffer from depression
much longer than necessary after a cardiac event,
and live each day waiting to feel like themselves again.
“It’s actually important for all adults who have survived
a cardiac event to be evaluated by their physicians for
depression,” says Bridgeport Hospital Chairman of
Psychiatry Charles Morgan, MD. “Depression can get
in the way of recovery and can also bring on new health
concerns. Survivors can benefit greatly from early recognition
and treatment, because treatment can improve
quality of life and well-being.”
Facts about the cardiac-depression connection
About 1 in 3 adults in the United States who have survived a heart attack experience depression.
- Depression in patients hospitalized for unstable angina, angioplasty, bypass surgery and valve surgery is similar those who have survived a heart attack.
- Depression is slightly higher in those
with congestive heart failure.
- Depression is highest among young
women who have survived a heart attack.
- Depressed heart patients have a greater
risk of suffering future cardiac events.
What is depression?
Depression is a medical illness that affects the mind and
the body’s ability to function normally. Depression can
lead to a variety of physical and emotional problems. It
changes how you think, feel and behave and interferes
with your ability to accomplish your day-to-day activities.
It is more than “feeling sad” on occasion and therefore is
not something that can be “shaken off.” When someone
is suffering from depression, it is difficult for him or her
to follow many of the lifestyle recommendations to
improve their cardiac health.
What causes depression?
Precisely what causes depression in one person and not
another is not completely understood, but there are
certain biological and behavioral connections between
depression and coronary heart disease (CHD). What is
known is that poor diet, exercise patterns, tobacco use,
poor medication compliance, social isolation and chronic
life stress are often seen in patients with depression and
in patients suffering from CHD.
What are the treatments for depression?
The treatments for depression have improved greatly during
the past few decades. Treatment options include medication,
cognitive behavioral therapy and physical activity,
such as aerobic exercise and cardiac rehabilitation.
Could You Be Depressed?
Your primary care physician is qualified to diagnose
depression. In the meantime, try this simple
In the past two weeks, how often have you experienced
the following? Please answer using this scale:
0=not at all, 1=about 5 days, 2=more than 7 days,
3=nearly 14 days.
- Little interest or pleasure in doing everyday activities.
- Feeling down, depressed or hopeless.
Note: If you answer 1, 2 or 3 to either or both of
these first two questions, please answer the rest of
the questions. If not, then the depressed feelings you
feel occasionally are probably within the normal
range of human emotions.
- Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or sleeping too much.
- Feeling tired or having little energy.
- Poor appetite or overeating.
- Feeling bad about yourself, feeling that you are a failure or feeling that you have let yourself or your family down.
- Trouble concentrating on things such as reading the newspaper or watching television.
- Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed, or being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual.
- Thinking that you would be better off dead or that you want to hurt yourself in some way.
Add together the item scores to get a total score.
If you score higher than 9, please talk to your
primary care physician to discuss your results and
possible treatments that may be helpful. If you
answered 1 or higher to question 9, please call
your physician immediately or go to the nearest
Which Came First?
When it comes to depression and heart disease, numerous
studies acknowledge the association between the
two, but the reason for the relationship remains inconclusive.
In other words, which happens first—the heart
disease or the depression? Researchers question whether
people are depressed because they have heart disease or if
depression—and related behaviors (poor diet, limited
physical activity)—causes the heart disease.
A low-fat version of a favorite cold-weather comfort food!
- 1 lb. ground turkey, 94% lean
- 1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup ketchup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking dish or loaf
pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients,
except the ketchup, and mix together just until
combined. Shape into meatloaf or put into a loaf pan
and then spread ketchup over top. Bake for about 1
hour, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Need a Physician?
|For a referral to an expert cardiologist or cardiovascular
surgeon affiliated with Bridgeport Hospital, please call us toll free, 24/7, at 1-888-357-2396 or visit www.bridgeporthospital.org/FindPhysician.