Advertisement

How is depression linked to heart disease?

It has been shown that as many as 30-40% of cardiac patients experience clinically important depressive symptoms. Major depressive disorder is present in as many as 20% of patients with cardiovascular disease and is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes, even after controlling for other risk factors.

Depression is related to the onset of cardiac disease, and is associated with higher medical costs, reduction in patients' quality of life and triple the risk of non-adherence with medical treatment regimens. In fact, cardiovascular prognosis is linked to the severity of depressive symptoms. Risk increases along with symptom severity whether or not the patient meets diagnostic criteria for a depressive disorder.

Depression reduces the chances of successful modification of cardiac risk factors and participation in cardiac rehabilitation, and is associated with higher health care utilization and costs and greatly reduced quality of life.

Depression is common in people who suffer from heart disease.

  • About 18 to 20 percent of coronary heart disease patients without a history of heart attack experience depression.
  • A significant percentage (40 to 65 percent) of coronary heart disease patients with a history of myocardial infarction (heart attack) experience depression.

Depression in heart disease patients is dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • The symptoms of depression may be disabling and can worsen the symptoms of heart disease.
  • Depressed cardiac patients may be less prone to follow and adhere to cardiac treatment regimens.
  • People who survive heart attacks but suffer from major depression have a three to four times greater risk of dying within six months than people who do not suffer from depression.

Although often co-occurring with heart disease, clinical depression is not an expected result of heart disease. When present, clinical depression should always be treated.

Continue Learning about Depression

What Are the Risk Factors for Depression?
What Are the Risk Factors for Depression?
Is There a Link Between Menopause and Depression?
Is There a Link Between Menopause and Depression?
What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and How Is It Used to Treat Major Depression?
What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and How Is It Used to Treat Major Depression?
Can Depression Be Contagious?
Can Depression Be Contagious?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.