Heart Attack | Complications

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What does depression have to do with my heart attack?

Depression is common after a heart attack. As many as 1 out of every 3 people who have a heart attack report feelings of depression. Women, people who have had depression before, and people who feel alone and without social or emotional support are at a higher risk of depression after a heart attack.

Many people who have depression don’t recognize it, seek help or get treatment. Being depressed can make it harder for you to recover physically. However, depression can be treated.

What is depression?

Depression is a medical illness, just like diabetes or high blood pressure. The emotional and physical symptoms of depression include some or many of the following:

  • Feeling sad or crying often (depressed mood)
  • Losing interest in daily activities that used to be fun
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Sleeping too much or having trouble sleeping
  • Feeling agitated, cranky or sluggish
  • Loss of energy
  • Feeling very guilty or worthless
  • Problems concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

How will I know if I am depressed?

People who are depressed have symptoms from the list above nearly every day, all day, for 2 or more weeks. Depressed mood and loss of interest in daily activities are two of the most common symptoms.

If you have some or all of the symptoms of depression, see your family doctor. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms, your health and your family's history of health problems.

Learn more about depression.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff. Portions of this article were written by Susan D. Housholder, RN, MSN, ANP-BC, FAHA.

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/10

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