The link between heart failure and depression

May 27, 2014

AAP-Blog-HeartDisease

There’s no doubt that depression is a significant societal concern. It is often the cause and/or the result of substance abuse and addiction. As one of the most common psychological disorders in the United States, depression affects those of all ages and socio-economic economic strata.

A new study conducted in Norway has shown yet another side effect of moderate to severe depression – heart failure. Indeed, according to the study, depression can increase the risk of heart failure by up to 40%. This is no insignificant statistic.

One of the study’s authors noted that depression affects hormone secretion and increases stress significantly. As we already know, stress is a primary risk factor in heart disease and heart failure. Further, depression often prevents us from performing daily activities, even those that affect our health – such as taking medication. This can lead to compromised general health and additional stress on the heart.

Our perspective: Depression is a significant problem that presents a whole host of follow-on issues. While the link between depression, substance abuse and other medical problems is well known, it is interesting to see the degree to which it affects the heart. With the United States population having such high levels of cardiovascular and depression problems, a 40% increased risk of heart failure is all the more startling. This study adds urgency and importance to the treatment of psychological disorders such as depression. After all, this study makes it very clear that depressive behavior has significant  and permanent risks.

There is a clear lack of understanding about the degree to which mental illness affects our society as a whole. Further, treatment for mental illness has lagged when compared to other medical fields and those suffering have been done a disservice. We hope that this and other studies on mental illness allow for greater degree of interest in how we can change our national health crisis by, in part, addressing psychological disorders.

Learn more at: http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/04/04/depression-can-hike-risk-of-heart-failure-by-40-percent/68062.html

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