A senior man suffering from depression and cardiovascular disease stands in the kitchen holding a glass of water.

Enduring a heart attack changes life instantly. What seemed important before the health crisis suddenly shifts, as the main priority becomes helping the weakened heart to heal. Life is then filled with adjusting to new medications, implementing dietary changes and an exercise regimen, following up with medical appointments and tests, all focused on ensuring optimal physical health.

Yet it’s equally important to pay attention to mental health throughout the healing process. While taking care of all of the new to-dos, feelings of fear, frustration, anger, anxiety, and denial, among others, may settle in. It is easy to see how depression can manifest as well. In fact, depression and cardiovascular disease very often go hand in hand. Those with no history of depression are at risk to experience it following a heart condition, while people already living with depression are at a greater risk for heart problems.

Why Is Depression Common After a Heart Attack?

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

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

These sorts of feelings can cause depression, which in turn impacts the person’s ability to recover fully from the heart attack, since they may:

  • Feel unmotivated to follow their doctor’s orders
  • Experience depression-related hormonal changes that could cause cardiac arrhythmia
  • Elect to self-medicate through alcohol, smoking, unhealthy eating, etc.
  • Develop especially sticky platelets that speed up hardening of the arteries

What Are the Signs of Depression?

Assess to determine if any of these warning signs of depression are present after a heart incident:

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

If you suspect depression, talk to the doctor immediately. Effective treatments are available.

How In-Home Care Can Help

Recovering from a heart attack is challenging enough, but adding in the effects of depression may make it seem impossible. In-home care can help in a variety of ways with both depression and cardiovascular disease, with services such as:

  • Medication reminders to make sure meds are taken just as prescribed
  • Planning and preparing nutritious meals
  • Friendly companionship for conversations and engaging distractions to brighten each day
  • Assistance with sticking to a prescribed exercise plan
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Grocery shopping as well as other errands
  • And much more

Contact Grace Home Care at 785-286-2273 to request additional resources to help someone with heart problems, depression, or any other chronic health issue, and to learn more about our home health care services throughout the Topeka area.