Heart and mind

Welcome to new and returning blog visitors!  I am exploring topics related to women’s mental health on this blog, and welcome your suggestions, questions, and responses.

This week I’d like to discuss the incredible interaction between the heart and the mind.

Researchers have found that the mood has a big influence on heart disease. After a heart attack, 20 to 30% of people develop depression.  Those who get depressed have a worse outcome for their heart disease including higher mortality rates.  Treatment of their depression improves their outcome for heart disease as well as their mood.

So heart disease can cause depression.  Can depression cause heart attacks?

It seems so.  Studies have found that people with depression have much higher risks for heart attack.  Even mild forms of depression increase the risk for heart disease.  Women have twice the risk for depression compared to men.

Think about that.  There is a physical connection between the heart and the mind.  Taking care of yourself emotionally and spiritually can potentially help your heart as well.  If you are depressed, getting treatment for your depression can protect you from heart disease.  That treatment may consist of therapy and/or medication such as antidepressants.

The good news is that effective treatments are available that can simultaneously help your mood and your heart!

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2 thoughts on “Heart and mind

  1. Food for thought / discussion – coincidence is not causation: there is increasing evidence that both depression and heart disease are mediated – perhaps caused – by inflammatory processes. There is good evidence for Interleukin-6 involvement and even better evidence for C-reactive protein involvement. So I am not so certain that heart disease causes depression, or that depression causes heart disease. Possibly by failing to address the underlying inflammatory causes we may find ourselves treating symptoms rather than interrupting the disease process of either (or both) conditions.But I will add that SSRI drugs reduce C-reactive protein levels even in cases where the depression does NOT resolve.

    • Jonathan,
      That is a good point! There is much interest now in the many roles of the inflammatory processes. It is very possible that the underlying mechanisms of heart disease and depression are intertwined.

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