Published on: October 20, 2014
by Bret Urgamy for Capital OTC:
According to new research, women are more prone to develop anxiety and depression after a heart attack than men.
According to a release by World Health organization, depression will be the second leading cause of disability and mortality in the world. It will be surpassed only by ischaemic heart disease.
Major depression is an important predictor of disability and poor quality of life in 18% of cases in the year post MI. Patients with depression are six times more likely to die within six months after an incidence of MI as compared to patients without depression.
According to Pranas Serpytis of Lithuania, “The increased risk of death in patients with depression persists up to 18 months after the MI. But despite the fact that post-MI depression is common and burdensome, the condition remains under-recognized and under-treated.”
A current study which was placed before the annual meeting of the Acute Cardiovascular Care Association (ACCA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in Geneva, investigated the effects of gender and cardiovascular disease risk factors on the risk of developing depression and anxiety after an MI.
The study included 160 subjects who were admitted with MI to the Vilnius University Hospital Santariskiu Clinics in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Demographic information which included details of gender , age, education and marital status, incidence of diabetes mellitus, treatment for hypertension, previous episodes of MI, cardiovascular risk factors like smoking , consumption of alcohol, physical activity levels and psychological ailments were collected one month after the incidence of MI.
The depression and anxiety levels were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) with 0-7 score for no depression and anxiety, 8-10 score for possible depression and anxiety, and 11+ score for mild to moderate levels of depression and anxiety symptoms. The study revealed that 24.4 percent or nearly one quarter of patients in the study was depressed. Out of these 28.2 percent had received treatment with antidepressants. The average HADS score for depression in men was 6.87 and 8.66 in women. For anxiety the mean score was 7.18 in men and 8.20 in women.
Serpytis said, “We found that women were more likely to develop anxiety and depression after a heart attack than men. More research is needed to discover the possible reasons for this.”
A link was also revealed in the study between anxiety and smoking. 15.6 percent of patients were smokers and their mean HADS score for anxiety was 10.16. Another 77.5 percent of patients were non smokers and their mean HADS score for anxiety was 7.3. 6.9 percent of patients had quit smoking more than two years ago and had a mean HADS score for anxiety of 4.55.
Serpytis said “Current smokers were more likely to have anxiety after an MI than never smokers or people who had quit smoking more than two years ago. We did not find any association between smoking and depression after an MI.”
Patients who led a sedentary life with little physical activity also tended to become depressed with a mean HADS score of 8.96,and 64% of the patients with depression said that they were not physically active.
Serpytis added, “Women are misrepresented in many clinical studies on MI even though they often have worse outcomes. Our study shows that women are more likely to develop anxiety and depression after MI than men but until now this issue has been largely unnoticed. Clinicians should assess MI patients, particularly women, for anxiety and depression so that timely treatment can be started.”
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