A sad senior man stands in the kitchen with a glass of water pondering the connection between heart disease and depression.

Having a heart attack changes life in the blink of an eye. What felt important before the health emergency suddenly shifts, as the main concern becomes helping the damaged heart to recover. Life is then filled with adjusting to new medications, implementing dietary changes and an exercise regimen, following up with medical appointments and tests, all aimed at ensuring optimal physical health.

Yet it is equally important to pay close attention to mental health through the recovery process. While taking care of all of the new to-dos, feelings of fear, frustration, anger, anxiety, and denial, among others, may settle in. It is easy to understand how depression can manifest as well. As a matter of fact, heart disease and depression very often go hand in hand. People who have no history of depression are at risk to experience it after a heart condition, while people already struggling with depression are at a greater risk for heart problems.

Why Is Depression Common After a Heart Attack?

Heart problems may cause an individual to experience various moods, including:

  • Shame over lifestyle choices that may have brought about the problem
  • Questions about self-identity and self-doubt
  • Embarrassment about the need for help
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Low self-esteem
  • And more

These kinds of feelings lead to depression, which in turn affects the person’s ability to recover fully from the heart attack, because they may:

  • Lack the motivation to follow doctor’s orders
  • Experience depression-related hormone changes that can cause arrhythmia
  • Develop especially sticky platelets that accelerate hardening of the arteries
  • Elect to self-medicate through alcohol, smoking, unhealthy eating, etc.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

Determine if any of these red flags of depression are present after a heart incident:

  • Helplessness or hopelessness
  • Changes to sleeping habits
  • Sluggishness or restlessness
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Difficulty with decision-making, memory, or focusing

If depression is suspected, speak with the health care provider as quickly as possible. Effective treatment options are available.

How Home Care Can Help

Healing after a heart attack is difficult enough, but adding in the effects of depression may make it seem nearly impossible. Home care can help in a variety of ways with both emotional and physical recovery, with services such as:

  • Medication reminders to make sure meds are taken as prescribed
  • Friendly companionship for conversations and engaging distractions to brighten each day
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Trips to the grocery store as well as other errands
  • Assistance with sticking to a prescribed exercise plan
  • Planning and preparing healthy meals
  • And much more

Contact Anthem Home Care’s care team at 361-643-2323 to request more resources to help someone with heart disease, depression, or any other chronic health condition, and to learn more about our home care services in Rockport, Ingleside, Aransas Pass, and the surrounding areas.