Studies show that heart disease is rated the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Some of the common risk factors associated with heart disease include high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, and smoking. But did you know that mental health can also play a role in the development of heart disease?
In order to understand how depression can increase the risk of heart disease or lead to complications in heart attack patients, it is important to first look at the connecting biological patterns. Part of your nervous system, known as the autonomic nervous system, is responsible for regulating your internal organs without your awareness—such as the beating of your heart or the intake of oxygen by your lungs. Scientists have discovered that individuals suffering with depression demonstrate certain changes in the balance of their autonomic nervous system, possibly weakening the integrity and function of the heart muscle.
While the symptoms of depression in patients who have experienced a heart attack may go away naturally on their own, others suffer from persistent depression that increases their risk of a future attack. Fortunately, studies indicate that antidepressant medications, such as sertraline, can reduce the symptoms of depression in individuals with heart disease without causing harm to the heart itself. Depression may also increase the risk of heart disease in patients who have not experienced a heart attack.
Here at the Cardiac and Vascular Institute at the Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, we have treated more heart patients than any other community hospital in Santa Clara County. In fact, we have been providing a full range of both diagnostic and treatment options for all areas of cardiac and vascular care for the past 40 years. As one of five hospitals nationally recognized as an Accredited Chest Pain Center, our facility is devoted to delivering the highest standard in cardiovascular care. Learn more about our cardiac care and emergency care services by contacting us at (408) 559-2011 today!