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Study Indicates Depression Can Affect the Heart
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Feb. 11, 2008 –A study by McGill University and the University of Montreal that was released in late January, shows that anxiety and/or depression doubles 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.
Sheila Kamath, manager of University Hospital's Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, said the emotional support that a coordinated rehab program offers is just as important as the physical components. Heart patients often become depressed because they are unsure of their physical capabilities after an episode with their heart. They become withdrawn because of the fear of having another heart attack or heart-related episode. Participating in a rehab program with fellow heart attack sufferers, where they are monitored by nurses and physicians while they exercise and progress, gives them the confidence they need to ease back into their routines.
In the study, 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. Researchers 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.