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Depression and Heart Disease

Depression and heart disease are common companions and one can lead to the other. Depression is an important risk factor for heart disease, along with high cholesterol and blood pressure. Depression sometimes makes it harder to take the medications which are needed and to carry out the treatment for heart disease. Depression results in elevated levels of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol which can have deleterious effects on the heart. It is common to feel sad or depressed after a heart attack, cardiac surgery or procedure. Psychological distress may cause rapid heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, and faster blood clotting and it can also lead to elevated insulin and cholesterol levels. The combination of depression and heart disease is associated with increased sickness and death, making treatment of depression a necessity. Pharmacological and cognitive-behavioral therapy treatments for depression play an important role in reducing the adverse impact of depression. Certain serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are also used to treat depression.