At first glance, the link between depression and heart health may seem odd. However, the connection starts to make a lot of sense when you take a closer look at the biochemistry involved in mental and physical illnesses. Keep reading to learn more about this intriguing link and what you can do to reduce your risk of both depression and heart disease.
Studies have shown that people with depression are 25 to 40% more likely to develop heart disease than those who don't experience depression. And the link seems to be a strong one. In fact, some researchers believe that depression may cause heart disease, similar to high cholesterol, smoking, or hypertension.
What is depression?
Depression is more than feeling down or persistent hopelessness, sadness, and emptiness. Decreased neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine contribute to depression. A host of physical symptoms often accompany depression, including headaches, fatigue and insomnia, changes in weight, nausea, constipation, and inflammation.
Depression causes physical symptoms and can lead to unhealthy behaviors like smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and neglecting to exercise. All of these behaviors are known to increase the risk of heart disease. In addition, people who are depressed often have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. This isolation can further contribute to unhealthy behaviors and make it challenging to follow treatment plans for heart disease or other conditions.
Depression can also impact the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infection. People with depression are more likely to develop infections like pneumonia and sepsis, which can lead to complications like organ failure or even death. Infections are a leading cause of hospitalization for people with heart disease (66%). So, it's essential to know the connection between depression and heart disease.
Many contributing factors can lead to both depression and heart disease. For example, decreased neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine levels have all been linked to depression. Low levels of norepinephrine can also cause hypotension (low blood pressure), hypoglycemia, and restless leg syndrome. Dopamine deficiency can result in muscle cramps, spasms, or tremors, and finally, decreased serotonin can cause difficulty with sleep and inhibit blood from clotting in response to injury. The exact link between depression and the health of our hearts is still being worked upon by scientists. However, the many correlations between the biochemistry involved in depression and how these also impact heart health, along with the natural remedies that can reduce the risk of mental and physical illness, make this seemingly unusual link not quite so odd.
Natural Remedies for Depression and Heart Disease
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for depression or heart disease, several natural remedies reduce the risk of both illnesses. Professional healers and medical practitioners promote using natural remedies to tackle depression and heart disease.
- Recent studies have concluded that incorporating natural ingredients, such as herbal tea and probiotics, into one's diet can help decrease inflammation, easing symptoms of depression and heart disease. While these methods are not a substitute for medical treatment, they can be effective complements combined with professional health services.
- Regular exerciseis an effective treatment for depression. In fact, studies have shown that exercise is as effective as medication for treating mild to moderate depression. Exercise has also been shown to be beneficial for heart health, as it helps to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and reduce stress levels.
- Other natural remedies for depression and heart disease include omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium supplements, and probiotics.
Professional consulting is essential in finding the right combination of remedies that work best for each individual.
With proper treatment, many people with depression can manage their symptoms and live healthy lives. And if you have heart disease, don't forget to keep up with regular medical appointments and treatments. And by taking care of both your physical and mental health, you'll be on your way to living the best life possible.