How Do You Get Heart Disease
Heart disease isnt contagious you cant catch it like you can the flu or a cold. Instead, certain things increase a persons chances of getting cardiovascular disease. Doctors call these things risk factors.
Some of these risk factors a person cant do anything about, like being older and having other people in the family who have had the same problems. But people do have control over some risk factors smoking, having high blood pressure, being overweight, and not exercising can increase the risk of getting cardiovascular disease.
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Depression And Coronary Heart Disease Prevalence
Major depression is a debilitating condition that presents with a number of cognitive and biological symptoms, including a pervasively lowered mood, anhedonia, negative cognitions, anergia, and appetite disturbance, and at its worst can manifest itself with suicidal thoughts and acts and psychotic features . The lifetime prevalence rates of major depression are in the order of 17%. It is known that major depression is more prevalent in people who have suffered a major cardiac event, with up to 40% of patients meeting the criteria for major depressive disorder . The large European Action on Secondary Prevention through Intervention to Reduce Events study showed potentially even higher rates with up to 35% of men and up to 65% of women measured as having depression on the hospital anxiety and depression scale . The enhancing recovery in coronary heart disease trial looked at patients who had recently suffered a myocardial infarction , and depression was diagnosed in 74% of them . If we look at figures from the community through to those who are hospitalized, we see rates of depression of 10% in general practice clinics , which then increases to up to 30% in those with coronary heart disease in outpatient clinics , and up to a staggering 50% in those who are an inpatient for coronary artery bypass surgery .
Watch For The Warning Signs Of Depression Which Is Often Missed In People With Heart Disease
All people have days when they feel sad, gloomy, or down in the dumps. But if those feelings last for weeks and you gradually stop feeling hopeful or happy about anything in your life, you may have depression. Like heart disease, depression is common, so it’s not unusual to have both conditions together. In fact, depression is about twice as likely to occur in people with heart disease compared with the general population. And people with depression face a heightened risk of heart disease.
“It’s really important for people to be aware of this link and to get treatment for depression, because it can be very debilitating,” says Dr. Christopher Celano, a psychiatrist at the Cardiac Psychiatry Research Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
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- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
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Enroll In Cardiac Rehabilitation
Cardiac rehabilitation is an educational tool that cardiologists often recommend after someone has a heart attack. During cardiac rehabilitation, youll learn how to eat healthy for heart disease. Youll also be able to determine which type of exercise is best for you with the help of a supervisor.
Cardiac rehabilitation is sometimes done in a group setting. This can have a positive impact on your mood since youll be in the company of others who have been through similar experiences. You may also feel more motivated on your path to recovery with the support of others.
Depression Can Lead To Heart Disease Study Suggests
- Concordia University
- Depression may have more far-reaching consequences than previously believed. Recent data suggests that individuals who suffer from a mood disorder could be twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to individuals who are not depressed.
Depression may have more far-reaching consequences than previously believed. Recent data suggests that individuals who suffer from a mood disorder could be twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to individuals who are not depressed.
This process has been poorly understood — until now. A new study led by Concordia University has found that depressed individuals have a slower recovery time after exercise compared to those who are non-depressed.
These findings suggest that a dysfunctional biological stress system is at play among depressed individuals. Published in the journal Psychophysiology, the research warns of the importance of testing for cardiovascular disease among people suffering from major depression.
Heart rate recovery is a powerful diagnostic tool
A total of 886 participants, who were on average 60 years old, took part in the study conducted by Concordia in association with the Montreal Heart Institute, McGill University, the Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, the Université du Québec à Montréal and the University of Calgary.
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What Causes Anxiety Chest Pain
When youre anxious, your body can and often does produce physical reactions like sweating or shortness of breath.
When you become anxious, your brain and body set off an immediate stress response. This includes a physiological change. Your body may tighten up or grow tense.
A stress response can also include a psychological or emotional response. You may become aggressive or upset more easily. These responses are referred to as the fight-or-flight response. When you become stressed or anxious, your body prepares to fight back or run away.
If you experience this fight-or-flight stress reaction infrequently, your body should fully recover within 30 minutes. But if you experience it frequently, your body cant recover as quickly. This can lead to increased muscle tension, and this tension may become painful in your chest.
Likewise, in an even more stressful moment, your heart rate may increase, and the force of your heartbeats can grow stronger. That combined with tight chest muscles can make you feel unusual pain.
If you feel anxious, there are some simple techniques you can try. These techniques may not work every time, but theyre a great starting point when you need help managing your anxiety.
Post Heart Attack Depression
A recent and frightening survey by the British Heart Association showed that four out of 10 people get their information about heart attacks from movies and television. But what could be a useful educational tool is doing more harm than good — the Hollywood heart attack is a far cry from the real thing. Onscreen, you may see your favorite heartthrob dramatically clutching his chest and collapsing in a heap just before he can reveal the secret location of the diamond stash.
Heart attacks are different for everyone and symptoms vary. Central chest pain can happen, but it can also quickly shoot through your arms, neck and jaw. You may feel a dull, bothersome ache — some people may not even realize they’re having one. You could feel sweaty, short of breath, clammy or light-headed. It might feel like someone is squeezing or stabbing your chest. You might even think it’s just indigestion.
Here’s some scary statistics for you loners out there. Men who go home to an empty house after being released following a heart attack have twice the mortality rate of those who live with someone . And if you live an isolated lifestyle, rarely checking in with friends and family, you’re more likely to die after recovering from a heart attack, regardless of what kind of shape you’re in.
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How Do I Know When To Seek Help
If youre recovering from heart surgery, a heart attack, or another heart condition, temporary feelings of sadness and a depressed mood are common for the first few weeks.
However, treatment is necessary when depression is severe and accompanied by other symptoms .
Without treatment, depression can become worse. For heart patients, depression can contribute to an increased risk of heart attack and coronary disease. Talk to your health care provide who can diagnose and start depression treatment with safe antidepressants. Your health care provider also can refer you to a mental health specialist who can provide other appropriate treatment when necessary.
When depression is negatively affecting your life such as causing increased difficulties with relationships or performance at work or at home, it is important for you to get help to prevent things from getting worse.
More specific reasons to seek help include:
Psychological Impact Of A Heart Attack
A heart attack can impact much more than a persons heart. It can affect many other aspects of a persons life, including:
- Attitude and mood
- Sense of certainty about the future
- Confidence about ones ability to fulfill the roles of a productive employee, mother, father, daughter, or son
- Feelings of guilt about previous habits that might have increased the persons heart attack risk
- Embarrassment and self-doubt over diminished physical capabilities
Most heart attack survivors are able to return to the roles and responsibilities they had before their heart attack. When uncertainty and anxiety become debilitating and interfere with the daily functions of life, then the process of rehabilitation and recovery after the heart attack may need to include psychological and psychiatric support, and perhaps medication for depression.
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Get A Depression Assessment
Your primary care doctor may conduct a depression assessment during your annual checkup. But if youre experiencing symptoms of depression, consider making an appointment for an assessment sooner than your annual checkup.
During your assessment, your PCP will ask you questions about your depression. This may include when it started, how often you feel down, and what youre steps youre taking to treat it, if any. These questions will help your doctor determine whether youre experiencing depression or acute symptoms that mimic the condition.
Having clinical depression means youve had symptoms for at least two weeks or longer. Knowing the extent of your depression will allow your doctor to put you on the right path to healing.
Actions For Health Care Professionals
- Learn more about the link between mental health and heart disease19 with the following resources:
- Talk to your patients about the relationship between mental health and heart disease.1,28,39,45,46
- Incorporate mental health screening and treatment into care surrounding a major heart disease event and chronic disease.2,6,8,17,21,25,32,40,45,47
- Involve individuals and their family members in communication and decision making regarding treatment following a heart disease event.15
- For patients with severe mental health disorders and pre-existing heart disease or its risk factors:21
- Consider prescribing or switching a patient to a psychotropic medication with lower risk for heart disease, while weighing any clinical benefits and potential for adverse events.
- Consider the potential interactions between prescribed medicines for heart disease and prescribed psychotropic medications.
- Monitor heart health outcomes and risk factors, and adjust doses of heart disease medicines if required.
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Coping With Life’s Pressures
Heart disease has many other mind-body connections that you should consider. Prolonged stress due to the pressures at home, on the job, or from other sources can contribute to abnormally high blood pressure and circulation problems. As with many other diseases, the effects vary from person to person. Some people use stress as a motivator while others may “snap” at the slightest issue.
How you handle stress also influences how your cardiovascular system responds. Studies have shown that if stress makes you angry or irritable, you’re more likely to have heart disease or a heart attack. In fact, the way you respond to stress may be a greater risk factor for heart problems than smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Can Depression Cause Heart Disease Or Heart Attack
When you experience depression, anxiety or stress your heart rate and blood pressure rise, theres reduced blood flow to the heart and your body produces higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Over time, these effects can lead to heart disease. Depression and anxiety can also develop after cardiac events, including heart failure, stroke and heart attack.
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Diagnosis Of Depression In People With Heart Disease
Diagnosing depression in people with heart disease is not always easy, because symptoms of depression, such as tiredness and low energy levels, are shared with heart disease or can be side effects of medication used to treat heart conditions.Doctors can screen for depression using questionnaires or interviews that address the symptoms of depression. Screening for depression should occur during your first visit to your GP for coronary heart disease, and at your next follow-up visit. If you have a major heart event such as a heart attack it is recommended that you be screened at two to three months after that event, and then on a yearly basis.This type of screening will help to detect any depression early so you can have treatment and improve your mental and physical health.
Is Tachycardia From Anxiety Dangerous
It’s difficult to say whether tachycardia is dangerous. The reality is that it is not usually dangerous on its own. The fight or flight system is something your body is prepared to handle something it has to handle, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to stay safe in danger and so your body can handle these adrenaline rushes fairly easily.
Tachycardia isn’t “safe,” however, because it can be a risk if you already have a heart condition. That is why even though anxiety is likely to blame for your rapid heartbeat, it’s always a smart decision to see a doctor and get everything checked out. If your heart is healthy, then tachycardia is unlikely to be dangerous.
Try to make sure that you feel confident in the doctors assessment. If they tell you that your heart is in good health, you need to avoid overthinking whether they have missed something. Doctors are well trained to spot heart problems and are very likely to know whether or not there is something to worry about.
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What Is The Connection Between Mental Health Disorders And Heart Disease
A large and growing body of research shows that mental health is associated with risk factors for heart disease before a diagnosis of a mental health disorder and during treatment. These effects can arise both directly, through biological pathways, and indirectly, through risky health behaviors.5
People experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, and even PTSD over a long period of time may experience certain physiologic effects on the body, such as increased cardiac reactivity , reduced blood flow to the heart, and heightened levels of cortisol. Over time, these physiologic effects can lead to calcium buildup in the arteries, metabolic disease, and heart disease.1,6-11
Evidence shows that mental health disorderssuch as depression, anxiety, and PTSDcan develop after cardiac events, including heart failure, stroke, and heart attack.5,12-20 These disorders can be brought on after an acute heart disease event from factors including pain, fear of death or disability, and financial problems associated with the event.5,16
Some literature notes the impact of medicines used to treat mental health disorders on cardiometabolic disease risk. The use of some antipsychotic medications has been associated with obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart attacks, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and death.21
Slow Heartbeat And Anxiety
If you suffer from anxiety symptoms generally and you also have what appears to be a slow heart rate, it is entirely possible that the two are related.
The causes of slow heart rate in the case of anxiety are not entirely clear. However, here are some possible causes:
Stop Checking Your Pulse
You should see a doctor if you’re concerned about a low heart rate. But once the doctor rules out medical symptoms, you need to stop checking your pulse unless instructed to do so by a doctor. Persistent pulse checking is a symptom of anxiety, and it’s a symptom that serves to fuel and reinforce your existing anxiety problem.
This behavior is self-sustaining. For example, when you check your pulse multiple times a day, you’ll never be satisfied with a normal result. You’ll instead keep checking until you finally have the anomaly you’ve been waiting for, which will then reinforce the idea that you need to keep checking your pulse constantly.
On the other hand, every time you check your pulse and you see that its normal, this gives you a bit of a buzz, temporarily alleviating your anxiety and giving you a sense that everything is ok. That positive feeling reinforces not just the pulse taking, but also the anxiety that precedes the pulse-taking. Youll soon find yourself becoming anxious and taking your pulse again, allowing the cycle to repeat.
In either case, the take-home message is that repeatedly checking your pulse is not a helpful behaviour.
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Why Didnt I Have Any Warning
The process of atherosclerosis has no symptoms. When a coronary artery narrows and constricts blood flow, other nearby blood vessels that serve the heart sometimes expand to compensate, which may explain why there are no warning signs.
Such a network of expanded nearby blood vessels is called collateral circulation, and it helps protect some people from heart attacks by delivering needed blood to the heart. Collateral circulation can also develop after a heart attack to help the heart muscle recover.
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How To Avoid A Heart Attack If You Have Depression
Individuals who are suffering from depression have enough on their plates without having to worry about heart attacks. Fortunately, having depression does not necessarily mean that you will suffer from a heart attack it all depends on the persons attitude. A positive outlook, attitude, and motivation can do a lot to decrease ones chances of developing heart disease. People suffering with depression need to concentrate on the importance of having a good attitude and a positive outlook towards the future. They need to convince themselves to take their medications faithfully, exercise, limit smoking and alcohol consumption, and live a healthy lifestyle.
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