When It’s More Than the Blues

Everyone feels a little down now and then. But up to 20 percent of people with heart disease have serious depression—and unfortunately, many of them don’t know it. If not treated, depression can make you more likely to have future heart problems.

Know the symptoms

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether you are depressed or just feeling blue. Here are some symptoms to watch for:

  • Feeling sad or anxious

  • Feeling guilty, helpless, or worthless

  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities that you enjoyed in the past

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Having less energy or feeling tired

  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions

  • Changes in appetite or weight

  • Feeling irritable or restless

  • Thoughts of suicide or death

If you have most or all of these symptoms every day for at least two weeks, you may have depression.

You can get help

If you have symptoms of depression, talk with your doctor. He or she may refer you to a counselor or other mental health specialist. Your doctor may also prescribe medicine for your depression. A combination of counseling and medicine can be helpful in treating depression.

Studies have shown that exercise can also be helpful in treating depression. And getting regular exercise, such as walking, is also a great way to keep your heart healthy.

Go online to the National Institute of Mental Health’s Web site at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/healthinformation/depressionmenu.cfm to learn more about depression.


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