Women May Be at Great Risk for Depression and Anxiety after Heart Attack

Contributed by: Umara Ali Raza, MD

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States, claiming a life every 33 seconds. More women die from the disease and now a new study suggests that women may suffer from depression and anxiety after a heart attack.                                                                                                                                                        Depression&Anxiety

According to the study, women had a higher risk of depression and anxiety than the men. Researchers interviewed patients and accounted for medical history and current cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as smoking and lack of physical activity. The patients were then ranked on a scale for their level of depression and anxiety.  The study also found that smoking increased the risk of anxiety, while the lack of exercise increased the risk of depression.

Depression and anxiety are also more common in women with chronic health problems. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stroke are conditions that increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Many of my patients ask me how they can prevent heart disease. If there isn’t a hereditary component, then much of it comes down to lifestyle choices. Patients should know their numbers—meaning understand your blood pressure number and cholesterol levels and what that means to your health. It’s important!

I also recommend that woman talk to their physician about a cardiology assessment and risk factors for heart disease. If you’re at risk for heart disease, there is good news. Many people can take steps to significantly reduce their chances of developing heart disease. Even if you already have atherosclerosis or have had a heart attack, there’s a lot you can also do to prevent future heart problems.

·         Stop smoking

·         Control high blood pressure

·         Control high cholesterol

·         Lose extra weight

·         Get physically active

·         Control diabetes

·         Limit alcohol

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