Depression And Anxiety Can Double Chances Of Heart Ailments

Depression And Anxiety Can Double Chances Of Heart Ailments

ScienceDaily (Jan. 19, 2008) — Matters of the
mind can affect matters of the heart. A new study by McGill University
and Université de Montréal researchers has found that major anxiety
and/or depression, can double a coronary artery disease patient’s
chances of repeated heart ailments. This is one of the first studies to
focus on patients with stable coronary artery disease — not those who
were hospitalized for events such as a heart attack.

 

"We found that both major depression and generalized anxiety
disorder were more common in cardiac patients than in the general
community," said principal investigator Nancy Frasure-Smith, a
professor at McGill’s Department of Psychiatry and a researcher at the
Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and Montreal
Heart Institute. "On average, cardiac patients without these disorders
had about a 13 percent chance of a repeated cardiac event over two
years, compared to 26 percent of those with either major depression or
anxiety."

Dr. Frasure-Smith coauthored the study from the January edition of
the Archives of General Psychiatry with François Lespérance, a
Université de Montréal psychiatry professor and head of the CHUM’s
Department of Psychiatry. "This is the first study to demonstrate that
anxiety and depression can have a strong impact on people with stable
coronary artery disease," said Lespérance.

The research team interviewed 804 people, patients with stable
coronary artery disease who were still monitored by a physician, yet
had been discharged from hospital two months prior. Frasure-Smith and
Lespérance found 27 percent of interview subjects were affected by
depression and 41 percent showed signs of anxiety. Major depressive
disorder was diagnosed in roughly 7 percent of patients while about 5
percent had generalized anxiety disorder.

"Now that we know that anxiety and major depression are both markers
of increased cardiac risk, it is imperative that these patients receive
the best treatment for both their cardiac and psychiatric conditions,"
concurred Frasure-Smith and Lespérance, "since both disorders may
respond to antidepressants."

Adapted from materials provided by University of Montreal.

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