Via Ken Pope: The American Psychiatric Association’s Psychiatric News (vol. 43, #7, April 4) includes an article: “Depression, Heart Disease: A Curiously Strong Relationship”. Here are a few extracts from an intriguing article that looks into what is a relatively new finding about the relationships between these two diseases:
Over the past several years, research findings have increasingly demonstrated that the co-occurrence of depression and heart disease has an impact considerably greater than the comorbidity of two common medical disorders.
There is an unusually high prevalence rate of major depression in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), far higher than in the population as a whole. The decrease in life expectancy in depressed patients compared with that of the general population is, in part, attributable to an increased risk for death secondary to cardiovascular
Further, patients with major depression are far more likely to die after a myocardial infarction (MI) than are patients with equal cardiac morbidity without major depression.
There is now a well-documented, positive correlation between depression symptom severity and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The more severe the depression, the higher the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease and dying post-MI.
Both disorders have an immense impact on individuals and families. Depressed patients are at risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, requiring careful monitoring and early intervention. Similarly, patients with cardiovascular disease should be screened for depression.
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Kalea Chapman, Psy.D.