A depressed man stands in the kitchen with a glass of water, an important reminder of the association between depression and heart health.

Experiencing a heart attack changes life instantly. What seemed important before the health crisis suddenly fades into the background, while the main concern becomes helping the injured heart to heal. Life is then full of tests, following up with medical appointments, adjusting to new medications, and implementing dietary changes and an exercise regimen, all geared towards ensuring maximum physical health.

Yet it’s incredibly important to pay close attention to mental health through the recovery process. While tending to all of the new to-dos, feelings of fear, frustration, anger, anxiety, and denial, among others, may settle in. It’s easy to see how depression can manifest as well. The truth is, there is a proven association between depression and heart health. Individuals with no history of depression are at risk to experience it following a heart condition, while people already living with depression are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

Why Is Depression Common After a Heart Attack?

Cardiovascular disease may cause an individual to experience many moods, including:

  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Questions about self-identity and self-doubt
  • Guilt over lifestyle choices that could have triggered the problem
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Embarrassment about the need for help
  • And others

These types of feelings lead to depression, which in turn impacts the person’s ability to recover fully from the heart attack, since they may:

  • Experience depression-related hormonal changes that could cause arrhythmia
  • Lack the motivation to follow doctor’s orders
  • Choose to self-medicate through unhealthy eating, alcohol, smoking, etc.
  • Develop especially sticky platelets that accelerate hardening of the arteries

What Are the Signs of Depression?

Determine if any of these red flags of depression are present after a heart incident:

  • Reduced interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Changes to sleeping habits
  • Hopelessness or helplessness
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Restlessness or sluggishness
  • Difficulty with focusing, decision-making, or memory

If depression is suspected, talk to the physician immediately. Effective treatment plans are available.

How In-Home Care Can Help

Recovering from a heart attack is difficult enough, but adding in the effects of depression may make it seem insurmountable. Home care can help in a variety of ways with both physical and emotional recovery, with services such as:

  • Assistance with sticking to a prescribed exercise plan
  • Medication reminders to make sure meds are taken as prescribed
  • Cheerful companionship for conversations and engaging distractions to brighten each day
  • Grocery shopping and other errands
  • And much more

Want to learn more about the association between depression and heart health? Contact the professional caregivers at At-Home Care Company at 515-292-2650 today. Our in-home care services can help someone with heart disease, depression, or any other chronic health issue. We proudly provide services in Ames, Story City, Huxley, and the surrounding areas.