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.
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
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.
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.
© 2014 Main Line Health