An older man stands in his kitchen with a sad look on his face, a reminder of why it is important to understand the link between depression and heart-related illnesses.

Experiencing a heart attack changes life immediately. What seemed important prior to the health emergency suddenly fades into the background, while the main concern becomes helping the injured 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 geared towards ensuring optimal physical health.

Yet it is just as important to pay special attention to mental health during the recovery process. While tending to all of the new to-dos, feelings of anxiety, fear, frustration, denial, and anger, among others, may settle in. It’s easy to see how depression can manifest as well. The truth is, depression and heart-related illnesses very often go hand in hand. Those with no history of depression are at risk to experience it after a heart condition, while people already living with depression are at an increased risk for heart problems.

Why Is Depression Common After a Heart Attack?

Heart problems may cause an individual to experience a variety of moods, including:

  • Uncertainty about what the future holds
  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Questions about self-identity and self-doubt
  • Guilt over lifestyle choices that could have triggered the issue
  • Embarrassment about the need for help
  • And more

These sorts of feelings can cause depression, which often affects the person’s capacity to recover fully from a heart attack, because they may:

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

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

Assess to determine if any of these red flags of depression are present after a heart incident:

  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Changes to sleeping habits
  • Hopelessness or helplessness
  • Restlessness or sluggishness
  • Difficulty with memory, focusing, or decision-making

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

How Home Care Can Help

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

  • Encouragement to stick to a prescribed exercise plan
  • Planning and preparing healthy meals
  • Medication reminders to ensure meds are taken as prescribed
  • Cheerful companionship for conversations and engaging distractions to brighten each day
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Grocery shopping and other errands
  • And more

Contact the team at Absolute Companion Care at 410-357-9640 to request further resources to help someone with cardiovascular illnesses, depression, or any other chronic health issue, and to learn more about our home care services in Monkton, Towson, Timonium, and the surrounding areas.