d2933451cc8f235c2b68a298b4b6337f89bcfcdc_fotolia_58543655_subscription_monthly_mEvery 34 seconds someone in the US has a heart attack. For many, a depression follows, according to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The No. 1 killer of Americans is not car wrecks, natural disasters or plane crashes it is heart disease, according to the CDC. Each year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack, 190,000 of which are repeated heart attacks. The correlation between heart attacks and depression is strong. Those who have heart attacks are more likely to become depressed, and people with depression have higher rates of heart attacks, according to a recent survey by Gallup.

According to the survey, one in 10 American adults surveyed said they currently have depression or are on depression treatment. Whether or not they have had a heart attack dramatically increased their depression risk. Eight percent is the current depression rate for people who have never had a heart attack, while 17 percent is the rate for people who have had a heart attack, the survey stated.

In the March Issue of The American Heart Association’s Circulation, they provide insight into depression after a heart attack, including how to identify if you are depressed.

According to the journal entry, The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition specifies depressed mood as, “feeling sad, down, unhappy and/or dissatisfied. And a marked reduction in interest or pleasure in activities that one usually enjoys.”

Thankfully there are ways to fight depression after a heart attack. Depression is a treatable disorder. Multiple clinical trials have proven that both antidepressant medications and certain forms of psychotherapy are effective in reducing depression, according to the American Heart Association.

Here is the association’s summary for things you can do to reduce the impact of depression on your heart:

1. Don’t let depression surprise you. It’s common to feel depressed after suffering a stressful life event such as a heart attack.
2. Be open to diagnosis and treatment of your depression. Welcome the advice of the mental health professional called to see you. Treatment can help reduce your suffering and improve your quality of life.
3. Be an active participant. Take prescribed medications as directed, follow any diet and exercise instructions, and follow the directions of your physician.
4. Seek out support. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. Supportive friends and family can be of great help during trying times. Patients with heart disease who have a trusted confidant with whom they can share distressing thoughts and feelings have been found in prior research to have lower mortality rates, according to the American Heart Association.

At Dayton Dandes Medical Center we help patients recovering from heart disease, depression and other illnesses with a personal integrative approach. Learn more about our therapies and services now.

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Williams, Redford B. MD. Depression after Heart Attack. American Heart Association Circulation.

Yusuf S, Peto R, Lewis J, Collins R, Sleight P. Beta blockade during and after myocardial infarction: an overview of the randomized trials. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 1985;27:335–371.

Lichtman JH, Bigger JT Jr., Blumenthal JA, Frasure-Smith N, Kaufmann PG, Lespérance F, Mark DB, Sheps DS, Taylor CB, Froelicher ES. American Heart Association Prevention Committee of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing; American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology; American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; American Heart Association Interdisciplinary Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research; American Psychiatric Association. Depression and coronary heart disease: recommendations for screening, referral and treatment: a science advisory from the American Heart Association Prevention Committee of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing, Council on Clinical Cardiology, Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, and Interdisciplinary Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research; endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association. Circulation. 2008;118:1768–1775.

EverydayHealth.com: “The Heart Attack Depression Link”.

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