Depression and Heart Attack Risk
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

People who have heart disease and are depressed often have a higher risk of future heart attack or stroke because depression keeps them from exercising and eating healthy foods. Dr. Edward Hill discusses a study that came to that conclusion in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Cardiac patients who are depressed are less likely to exercise, which increases their risk of a cardiac event such as a heart attack or heart failure, a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded.

Itís long been recognized that patients who suffer from depression are more likely to have heart attacks or other cardiac events. But the reason has been unclear. According to the study, the higher risk may be caused by behavioral factors, especially physical activity levels.

Researchers looked at 1,000 heart disease patients. Participants completed a questionnaire to gauge whether or not they had depressive symptoms. The depressed patients were more likely to smoke, were less likely to take their medications as prescribed and were less physically active.

Among the participants with depression, 10 percent had a cardiac event during the follow-up period. Among the non-depressed participants, 7 percent had a cardiac event.

Researchers said the incorporation of exercise into a comprehensive depression treatment plan may be beneficial to many patients who suffer from both depression and heart disease.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.