Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

Heart Disease and Depression Are Linked

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - Stem Cell Guru

While many of you are aware that many times heart disease (particularly congestive heart failure) leads to depression in heart patients, a study just showed that this depression likely leads to even worse heart trouble- showing another way that heart disease is indeed part of a vicious cycle.

A just released published study in the Journal of American Medical Association showed that researchers followed a little more than 1000 heart patients with stable yet chronic heart disease during a five year period. During that period it was determined that 341 of those patients had a heart related incident that forced them to visit the hospital such as a heart attack.

From that, it was determined that the heart disease patients who suffered from depression were 31% more likely to have a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, or death.

Here is the kicker:

But the clearest differences between groups were behavioral, Whooley says. When researchers accounted for differences between the groups in smoking habits, exercise habits and discipline in taking medications, the heart risk apparently imparted by depression evaporated.

Meanwhile, the depressed people were nearly twice as likely to smoke and were more likely than the nondepressed group to fail to take medications on schedule. The depressed group also exercised less.

Study coauthor Mary Whooley, an internist at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco said that it is difficult to change the behavior of depressed patients who often aren't motivated and she wanted doctors to be more aware of the risks of their patients maintaining a sedentary lifestyle and other detrimental behaviors.

While of course it is hard to determine which came first the chicken or the egg ie. "is the depression stemming from the heart problems? Or are the heart problems occurring because of the depression," what I got from this study (and this one) is to try and stay active. Do some exercise, get off the couch, stop smoking, try and keep a positive attitude even though I know it is difficult at times.

This is probably good advice for everybody, not just heart patients- but it is something heart disease patients should take note of. All of us should keep this in mind especially at this time during the holiday season, as we are more likely to sit on the couch and watch Law and Order reruns while waiting for the next football or basketball (or hockey for my Canadian audience) game to start.



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