If you are diagnosed with coronary heart disease (CHD), you might feel a range of emotions. It's normal to be concerned about how this condition may affect your future when you're first diagnosed, but sometimes feelings of depression and anxiety don't go away. That's when you need help coping with these feelings.
Having heart disease can lead to depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, studies have shown that mental stress can have a negative effect on heart health. Stress may play a role in causing CHD. Stress can cause narrowing of the arteries, rasing blood pressure and your risk for a heart attack. People who are depressed are two to three times more likely to develop CHD than people who are not depressed. And, depression is twice as common in women as in men.
Stress and depression are often associated with unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking and eating an unhealthy diet. All of these habits increase the risk of CHD and can interfere with treating cardiovascular disease.
If you have feelings of sadness or depression that persist beyond a week or two, it's important that you talk to your doctor first, then consider taking the following steps:
If you have been diagnosed with CHD, joining a support group may help. Talking to others who are experiencing the same things as you can give you practical advice and help you feel less alone. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area. You may also want to look into online support groups and message boards for people with heart disease and their families, including the following: