Depression ups risk of heart attacks among cardiac patients

April 14th, 2009 - 3:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 14 (IANS) Heart patients diagnosed with depression face a greater risk of heart failure, a condition when the organ is unable to pump enough blood throughout the body, a new study has found.
This study, the first to investigate how depression in the wake of heart disease can increase the likelihood of heart failure, also found that anti-depressants did not appear to mitigate this risk.

“Our data suggests that depression is an important and emerging risk factor for heart failure among patients with coronary heart disease,” said Heidi May, epidemiologist, Intermountain Medical Centre (IMC), Murray, Utah.

“Interestingly, when we stratified patients with depression by whether they received anti-depressant medication or not, the incidence of heart failure didn’t change.”

“This finding may indicate that anti-depressants may not be able to alter the physical or behavioural risks associated with depression and heart failure, despite a potential improvement in depressive symptoms.”

There are a number of other risk factors associated with depression and heart failure, including smoking, hypertension, diabetes and being overweight, said an IMC release.

Prior studies have reported that patients with depression are also less likely to practice good health habits or adhere to treatment regimens (e.g. taking medications properly, following a recommended exercise programme and keeping scheduled appointments).

These findings are scheduled for publication in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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