Heart Beat: 12/08
Because heart patients are at a higher risk for developing depression, a condition that can worsen their physical health and quality of life, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that all heart patients be screened for depression, and treated if necessary. In a statement published in the Sept. 29 issue of the AHA journal Circulation, and supported by the American Psychiatric Association, the AHA recommends anyone presenting with depression symptoms be evaluated by a professional experienced in diagnosing depression and be screened for other psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety. AHA experts also noted that heart patients are three times more likely than the general public to develop depression after a heart attack. Depressed patients are less likely to adhere to their medication regimens and follow a healthy lifestyle including a sensible diet and regular exercise.