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Monday, March 10, 2014
Depression and Coronary Heart Disease
I am a 28 year old male that suffers from depression on occasion. I read online that depression can lead to coronary heart disease. Is this true? What can I do to prevent it?
Though it is true that depression can lead to coronary heart disease by a variety of ways, the process is gradual and the risk depends on how severe and long-lasting the depression symptoms are. Depression leads to increased risks for heart disease by contributing to physical inactivity, weight gain, smoking, and diabetes, all of which are major risk factors for coronary disease. Depression also affect the rhythms of the heart and the tendency for blood to clot.
The best way to prevent depression from leading to heart disease is to treat your depression effectively. That means reducing your symptoms to normal and preventing relapses into future depressive episodes. Any form of treatment that does that (psychotherapy, antidepressant medications, exercise, etc.) will help reduce your risks for heart disease.
Lawson Wulsin, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Training Director of the Family Medicine Psychiatry Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati