Mental illness and heart disease are both conditions that affect millions of people in the United States in a given year, but what else do the two have in common?
Studies have found that between 17 and 44 percent of patients with coronary artery disease also have major depression. The American Heart Association states that people hospitalized for a heart attack are roughly three times as likely as the general population to experience depression.
Research has also suggested that these two illnesses may cause one another. Patients with heart disease who are often sick and stressed may feel symptoms of depression, and a mix of factors such as inflammatory changes and behavioral changes with depression may increase the risk of heart disease. Depressed patients with heart disease have mortality rates twice as high as non-depressed patients. Heart disease patients with depression have a higher risk of cardiac arrest and complications from surgery than those without depression.
Depression isn’t the only mental health issue linked to heart disease. Researchers are discovering correlations between heart disease and other mental illnesses such as anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.