Stay happy, stay heart healthy!

Mental health has been one of the neglected areas of medicine. Whenever one visits a cardiologist, its common to get advice on weight, diet and exercise. But rarely does the physician speak on mental health and its effects on the heart.

Multiple studies have studied the relation ship between mental health and heart disease, in particular coronary artery disease.

Its been found that acute mental illness like Depression and long term stress like anxiety, work related stress, panic attacks can have a bad effect on cardiac health.

Individuals with serious mental illnesses like depression, bipolar mood disorders and schizophrenia have increased incidence of obesity, altered dietary habits and eventually increased incidence of coronary artery disease. Also long term mild problems like anxiety and work related stress cause an increase in heart disease problems.

Also patients with heart attacks who develop depression later fare badly in the long term when compared to ones without depression.

Its imperative for the Cardiologist to look for mental disorders and its symptoms in their patients to prevent and treat these disorders in the early stage.


Some general guidelines to improve mental health:

Walk/ exercise everyday. Exercise is a great mood elevator and stress buster. Walking half hour a day at a brisk pace can have profound effect on physical and mental health.

Eat well. Eating every 2-3 hours in small portions keep the mind satiated. One can avoid binge eating which is associated with stress and anxiety.

Meditate daily for 15 minutes. Just sitting still and breathing slowly with one concentrating on his/her breath relaxes one’s body and mind.

Be more social. Go out and make friends. Spend time with your relatives.

Always think positive. 


So, Stay Happy and Heart Healthy!

Depression negates heart-healthy behaviors

Untreated symptoms of depression can negate (the anti-inflammatory) benefits typically associated with physical activity and light to moderate alcohol consumption, new research suggests.


Based on measurements of the cardiometabolic risk marker C-reactive protein (CRP), the study “points to a new role for depression in addition to its direct impact on physical and mental health,” said lead author Dr Edward C Suarez (Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC).


The results suggest that depressive symptoms can “minimize the health effects of what many Americans are doing to reduce our risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes—exercise more and adopt a Mediterranean-type diet that includes light to moderate alcohol consumption,” Suarez said.

The study was published online March 26, 2013 in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.


Light to moderate alcohol intake and leisure-time physical activity are independently associated with lower levels of CRP, whereas depression has been associated with elevated CRP.


The researchers found that individuals who were physically active generally had lower levels of CRP, with the exception of those with depressive symptoms (4.5% of the cohort), who reaped no beneficial effect of physical activity on CRP levels.

They also found that light to moderate alcohol consumption was associated with lower CRP, but only in men who were not depressed. Light to moderate alcohol consumption was not associated with lower CRP in those with increased depressive symptom severity, the researchers said.

This is the first study that has examined the impact of depressive symptomatology on the anti-inflammatory benefits of leisure time physical activity and light to moderate alcohol consumption.

“These findings argue for medical providers to combine management of depression alongside reduction of other forms of cardiovascular risk, instead of the more traditional approach of managing conditions separately,” the authors conclude.


So, keep smiling to kick away the blues!


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