A recent article posted in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, designed to provide up-to-date health information world-wide, discusses a health index that found a close link between heart failure and depression. This index included 164,102 adults in the U.S.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in adults in the United States. Recent studies have linked both depression and heart problems to sleep apnea. If you have developed either depression or heart trouble alongside your sleep apnea, you could be at risk for developing the other as well. The important role of sleep apnea treatment in treating these two conditions should be recognized.
Depression and Heart Failure Linked
Of the 164,102 adults involved in this index, 6,236 reported experiencing a heart attack at least once in their lifetime. This suggests that one in every 25 U.S. adults (or 3.8%) has experienced heart failure. The data also showed that 17.5% of U.S. adults had reported having been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lifetime, and 10.4% are currently receiving treatment for depression.
In the index, 30.1% of those reporting that they had been diagnosed with depression also reported experiencing a heart attack in their lifetime compared to 15% who had not experienced a heart attack. These numbers show that adults who have experienced heart failure in their lifetime are twice as likely to also have experienced depression than those who have not had heart failure.
These results do not mean that heart disease causes depression, or that depression causes heart disease, only that the two are closely linked. Depression is a known warning sign of possible heart complications. Some studies have suggested that heart disease can stem from depression as a result of neglect of self-care, or attempts at self-medicating. Heart disease has also been connected with hormonal problems that may be the cause of depression in some people. Other risk factors may include decreased energy levels, and an increase in fatty and sugary foods leading to rapid weight gain.
Other studies have found that there is a connection between life expectancy after heart failure and depression. Researchers at the Montreal Heart Institute found that patients suffering from depression were more likely to die within six months of a heart attack than those without depression.
Heart failure is often a life-changing, and sometimes debilitating experience. People who experience heart failure are often times more likely to be diagnosed with depression later on than people who have not experienced heart attacks. Heart failure can not only change a person’s physical capabilities, limiting the activities that they can participate in, but could also weaken their confidence in the future and shatter their sense of security. People who have experienced heart failure may also have more trouble feeling connected with the people around them.
A decreased quality of life is one of the leading causes of depression. Whether it is because a person perceives their life quality as being lessened due to living with a disease, or they physically cannot function the way they did before, depression can sink in when life is impacted by disease.
When dealing with depression and heart failure, it is important to keep in mind that both conditions can be treated with positive lifestyle choices, medication, and a close support team. Improving a person’s quality of life is important for treating both conditions. It is important to treat the whole person rather than focusing on depression or heart disease separately if a person is going to make a full recovery.
Sleep apnea is a known cause of both depression and heart failure, putting sleep apnea patients at a higher risk for both conditions than people without sleep apnea. To learn more about how sleep apnea treatment can help you protect your emotional and physical health, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a Denver TMJ dentist at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado.