People who are depressed have a far greater risk of suddenly dying within a year.
A new study has found an alarming link between depression and heart failure, and it could lead to a change in how people with heart problems are treated.
The European Society of Cardiology as issued a study that finds that depression carries a far greater risk of sudden death from heart failure, indicating that perhaps patients should be screened for depression rather than simply prescribed drugs to deal with the issue, according to a BBC report.
Heart failure occurs when the heart suddenly weakens and becomes stiff, resulting in shortness of breath and fatigue due to problems pumping blood, indicating that death may not be far off.
Prof. John Cleland of the Imperial College London and University of Hull, who was the lead author of the study, called heart failure an “epidemic” in the report, noting that this study — which involved 96 patients who had had heart problems before — was a strong indication that screening for depression should become a part of the process for dealing with patients suffering from heart problems.
The study, which checked the patients for signs of depression, found that those who had moderate to severe depression had a far greater incidence of death within 300 days than those who did not. Scientists had always suspected there was a link between depression and heart failure, but often attributed the higher death rate of depressed people to them simply having a worse heart condition. However, this suggests that perhaps depression has been underestimated as a risk factor.
Why is this the case? It’s possible that those who are depressed don’t seek help right away when they have a heart condition, or perhaps they don’t take their meds regularly.
Because it was a small study, more research will be needed to confirm this, but it does provide scientists with a new lead in the fight against heart failure.