New Study Finds Link Between Heart Attacks and Depression

Survey finds close relation between two of America's most costly diseases

According to results from a new survey included in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, U.S. adults who have suffered from a heart attack may be twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression.

According to the survey, which conducted interviews with 164,102 American adults, 17.5 percent of participants expressed having been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, and of that group 30.1 percent said they have suffered from a heart attack, while 15 percent said they have not.

Gallup noted that the link between heart attacks and depression held true after controlling for factors such as “age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income, marital status and insurance status.”

The survey also found another link between the two health risks in that participants who said they have experienced a heart attack are twice as likely to say they are currently being treated for depression, when compared with those who have never had a heart attack.

Of the 10.4 percent of respondents who said they “currently have or are being treated for depression”, 8.1 percent said they have never had a heart attack while 16.5 percent said they have.

Gallup points out that both heart disease and depression are “two of the most costly diseases in U.S.”

Although the survey did reveal a close link between the two diseases, it’s important to note that it did not prove that having a heart attack increases a person’s risk for depression.

“Depression is a known predictor of cardiac problems and is as strong a risk factor for heart disease as diabetes and smoking,” the report on states.

It also noted that being diagnosed with depression may increase a person’s risk for having a heart attack and obesity.

“Feeling depressed makes it harder to make healthy lifestyle choices,” Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute told Gallup. “People are more likely to smoke, overeat, drink too much and work too hard when they're feeling lonely and depressed.”

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