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If you're feeling blue, take note of your heart health

by , 20 October 2014
If you're feeling blue, take note of your heart health
You may only think about your anxiety and depression and what it's doing to your mental health.

But the truth is, it affects more than just your mind!

It affects your heart too!

In fact, nowadays, doctors screen patients with depression for heart disease. Especially if they have any other risk factors for heart disease on top of depression and anxiety.

You see, there's a direct link between depression, anxiety and heart disease. Experts say depression TRIPLES your risk of dying from heart disease compared to just having heart problems.

And a study conducted in North Carolina confirms this…

Keep your mental health in check to keep heart disease from claiming your life

 
The culprit linking depression, anxiety and heart disease is stress.
 
Researchers from the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina recruited 900 patients aged 62 and older into the study. They asked them about their levels of depression and anxiety just before they had an angiogram.
 
It’s a good indication of what depression and anxiety does to your heart because it’s a highly stressful procedure. They measure your heart function by putting a wire probe through the artery in your groin and feed it up to your heart.
 
Once they collected the data, they found 90 patients suffered from depression, 59 from anxiety and 99 from both.
 
By the end of the study a total of 133 patients had died within the three years of the study start date. When researchers checked their medical records, 93 died because of heart disease complications.
 
What was significant about this is 55 of them suffered from either depression, anxiety or both.
 
Lead author of the study, Professor Lana Wilkins says the most important information they got from the study is that patients who are highly anxious or depressed have a higher risk of dying. This is independent of the severity of their heart disease.
 
But add heart disease to the mix and it increases your risk of death three-fold.
 
They think the connection has to do with how you look after yourself when you’re depressed. Feeling worthless plays a huge role…
 
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Depression could make you default from your medication – leaving you with a higher risk of dying from heart disease

 
Simon Rego, director of psychology at the Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, agrees with the findings.
 
He says he’s seen countless patients with depression. And because of their mental health issues, they have other illnesses and diseases too.
 
Patients who feel like they’re worthless usually don’t take care of themselves, he says. And, if they’re on chronic medication, it’s likely they don’t take it because they don’t feel it’s worth it.
 
This makes their condition worse and, in the case of heart disease, makes them more likely to die because of complications.
 
And while experts says there’s a need for studies that prove treatment for anxiety and depression can help lower the risk of death due to heart disease, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a try.
 
Here’s how to take charge of your mental health to keep your risk of dying from heart disease low.
 
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Use these four tips to cope with depression and anxiety

 
#1. See your doctor
 
There are ways to cope with depression and anxiety naturally, but it’s important to see a professional about your symptoms before you start any treatments.
 
Discuss with your doctor the best options for treatment that suit your lifestyle and current health.
 
#2. Take your medication
 
It’s essential to take any medications as prescribed. If you’re on antidepressants or antianxiety pills or others like those for heart disease, it’s essential you take them until your doctor says you don’t need to any more.
 
Stopping them without your doctor’s supervision can cause complications to your current illnesses.
 
#3. Get help
 
Speaking to a professional who deals with mental health matters on a daily basis might be the best treatment.
 
Having someone to talk to and them giving you useful tips on how to handle your illness could make it much easier to cope.
 
#4. Be present in your life
 
The most important part of your treatment is being present in your own life, says WebMD.com.
 
Taking charge of your illness, getting help and taking your medication is up to you – no one can force you to do it.
 
Use these tips to keep your mental health in check so you’re not letting your heart health slip out of your control, leaving you with a soaring risk of dying from heart disease. 

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