Does being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder put us at risk for developing cardiovascular disease?
Recent clinical studies have shown that there is in fact a correlation between Major Depressive Disorder and Coronary Heart Disease. Those that have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder are at a much higher risk of developing Coronary Heart Disease, accompanied by a higher mortality rate. Research has shown that 15-20% of those who experience a myocardial infarction met the criteria for having Major Depressive Disorder.
The tricky part lies in determining if one condition is a primary trigger for the other.
We must consider how cardiovascular disease impacts the quality of ones life. Dealing with a painful illness such as Coronary Heart Disease reasonably puts patients at a higher risk for developing depression. The study also notes that developing depression is an expected during recovery after an acute cardiac event.
It also seems plausible that those who deal with MDD are more likely to develop heart disease: as depression is tied to a poor diet, emotional distress, low quality sleep, and heavy drinking.
When both of these conditions are present, recovery becomes much more complicated. Medications for cardiovascular health have been shown to be much less effective on depressive patients, and makes managing lifestyle adjustments difficult.
When it comes to the link between the two conditions, it is important to know that both physiological and behavioral aspects are at play. This makes treating depression after a cardiac arrest critical in order to ensure the most effective recovery. It also means those coping with Major Depressive Disorder must be extremely conscious of their lifestyle habits (eating well, getting regular exercise) in order to avoid future complications with their cardiovascular health.
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