Depression Raises Female Heart Risk
Everyone suffers the blues occasionally. But for some, depression is more than a passing phase. Recent research finds this delicate state of mind is posing a real health risk for women.
“Women that had that moderate to severe depression, they were twice as likely to have either a heart attack, an artery block that required a stent, or death from a cardiac event,” says Dr. Lynne Einbinder, who is a cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.
Classic cardio risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking. Depression and stress were thought to have an influence as well. Now experts have data to back it up. In a large study group, depression doubled the likelihood of a catastrophic event. Hardest hit are women under 55.
“This is the age where, you know, in the forties to fifties you have a full time job or you’re working at home and doing a lot of things in the community. You’ve got children; you’ve got a spouse to balance. These stresses may increase your risk of depression,” says Dr. Einbinder.
The addition of depression as a heart risk factor is prompting some doctors to dig deeper into their patient’s state of mind. Treating depression can be helpful both in terms of quality of life and hopefully the prevention of heart disease.
“One thing that we have to do both as primary care physicians and also a specialty cardiologist is talk to our patients about depression,” says Dr. Einbinder.
Soothing the troubled heart may be a powerful and life-saving intervention for a vulnerable population of women.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.