Dr. Hagmeyer: Is this Common Condition Behind Heart Attacks? Naperville, IL

9 01 2012

The amount of prescriptions that are filled for depression each year reach and exceed up to 230 million, thus making  antidepressants one of the most-prescribed drugs in the United States. More than 1 in 20 Americans are still depressed according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research over the last two decades has shown that people with cardiovascular disease are more likely to suffer from depression than otherwise healthy people. The reverse is also been found to be true, people with depression are at greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

The National Institute of Mental Health states that “people with heart disease who are depressed have an increased risk of death after a heart attack compared to those who are not depressed.”  Cardiovascular disease is classified as one of the leading causes of death and now affects over 12 million Americans. The depression incident rates skyrockets to 1 in 2 for people who have survived their first heart attack according to the institute.

Depression and anxiety can result in heightened levels of stress hormones called cortisol and adrenaline.  The elevated levels signal an alteration and damages the type of tissue healing needed for muscle tissue repair, especially the heart.

A recent study which involved 80 adults aged 20 to 45 years who were diagnosed with moderate depression were able to cut their symptoms nearly in half with exercise alone. Exercise performed three to five times per week has immediate effects on your mood and brain health according to the study.¹

The proper balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 has now been considered to be the most important nutrient to battle cardiovascular disease and depression. Omega-3 deficiency can also decrease normal blood flow to numerous regions of the brain.  The ideal balance of Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids has been found to be in a 2:1 ratio.

[1] American Journal of Preventive Medicine January 2005;28(1):1-8




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