Depression and anxiety can double chances of heart ailments

January 18, 2008

Matters of the mind can affect matters of the heart. A new study by McGill University and Université de Montréal researchers has found that major anxiety and/or depression, can double a coronary artery disease patient’s chances of repeated heart ailments. This is one of the first studies to focus on patients with stable coronary artery disease – not those who were hospitalized for events such as a heart attack.

The research team interviewed 804 people, patients with stable coronary artery disease who were still monitored by a physician, yet had been discharged from hospital two months prior. Frasure-Smith and Lespérance found 27 percent of interview subjects were affected by depression and 41 percent showed signs of anxiety. Major depressive disorder was diagnosed in roughly 7 percent of patients while about 5 percent had generalized anxiety disorder.

“Now that we know that anxiety and major depression are both markers of increased cardiac risk, it is imperative that these patients receive the best treatment for both their cardiac and psychiatric conditions,” concurred Frasure-Smith and Lespérance, “since both disorders may respond to antidepressants.”

Source: University of Montreal

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