Although the direct relationship between heart health and depression can be somewhat hard to prove because so many factors can affect both conditions, there does seem to be connection between them. Nearly 1 in 5 people who have heart attacks are found to have depression, and many of those who suffer from depression with no previous history of heart problems will develop heart disease in the future.
Depression Following a Heart Attack
It’s obviously important to monitor your physical health following a heart attack, but what’s often not as obvious but equally important is the state of your mental health. Experiencing a heart attack can negatively affect your mood and self-confidence, and may leave you feeling unable or unmotivated to move forward.
Risk for Heart Attack in Depressed
In a similar way, your heart attack risk may increase if you’re clinically depressed. Depression can leave you feeling unmotivated to lead a healthy lifestyle, including eating right and getting enough exercise. In fact, it may have the exact opposite effect, resulting in emotional eating or the development of other harmful habits like excessive smoking or drinking.
What You Can Do
In either situation, adopting a few habits to promote a healthy physical and mental lifestyle can help to reduce your risk of either condition. Meditation and deep breathing exercises can be beneficial to your mental health, even when you’re feeling down. Getting daily exercise can also help both your physical and mental health, as it releases natural mood-boosting hormones. Cardiac rehabilitation programs can aid in getting you back in shape following a heart attack, helping you to feel confident and healthy again.
Be sure to consult your doctor if you feel you need help treating your depression.