Depression after Heart Surgery, etc; Link between Being Depressed and the Heart

There are two main angles for this issue - depression after heart surgery and heart problems in general, as well as heart problems caused by depression.

First angle - depression first, then heart problems. Research, statistics and information available from various studies indicate that depression is one of the main factors for cardiovascular problems and in some cases even death. Persons suffering from depression are at a greater risk of suffering heart attacks as compared to people who do not have depression.

Second angle - heart problems first, then depression. Statistics reveal that nearly 30% of patients who suffer from heart attacks go through depression, and close to 20% of patients who undergo bypass surgery are also likely to suffer from depression.

There is even a cyclical effect! In addition to the above, it has also been noted that persons who suffer from depression following cardiovascular problems are prone to further heart problems.

As you can see, it's not just about having depression after heart surgery - there are several ways in which depression and heart issues could be linked.

Explaining the Link between Being Depressed, Depression and the Heart

What are some of the reasons for the above linkage between heart problems and depression? One possibility could be the presence imbalances in the regulation of certain chemical substances in the human body, imbalances which could result in depression.

Also, patients suffering from depression are often not very particular about taking their medications on time, exercising, and following up with the cardiologist or family physician on a regular basis. All these factors contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular conditions recurring in these patients. Therefore, if persons with depression suffer from cardiovascular disease, it is extremely difficult to manage their treatment and care.

Depression after Heart Surgery

On the other hand, persons who undergo cardiac surgery are also prone to depression. So, while persons suffering from depression may neglect their health and end up suffering from cardiovascular disease, persons who have undergone cardiac surgeries also seem to suffer from depression after heart surgery.

This is because after cardiac surgeries, patients are required to make certain serious lifestyle changes - people who are used to smoking and drinking would be required to abstain from these habits, and this makes them irritable, angry, sad, and depressed. Further, patients who are obese and overweight are required to follow a strict diet and exercise program, which again might not appeal to some of them.

In today’s day and age, even after a major heart surgery, patients are discharged from the hospital after a relatively short stay. This will certainly impact the patient and his or her condition both physically and mentally. Often times, physicians and family members are busy concentrating on the physical condition of the patient and fail to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression that are setting in. Once the patient is transferred home, there are even lesser chances of experts diagnosing depression and treating it. These factors contribute to the increased likelihood of depression after heart surgery.

Pump Head Issue

In addition, there is a new-found problem that further complicates matters, and that is the “pump head” problem. According to the pump-head theory, after major cardiac surgeries, patients experience a certain amount of cognitive impairment. Such impairment includes mental sluggishness, difficult remembering, and some amount of memory loss.

Therefore, cardiologists generally conclude that most of the symptoms, if noticed, are related to pump head, which is a direct outcome of surgery and cannot be directly treated. Ultimately, in the entire process, a heart patient slipping into depression does not get diagnosed or treated accordingly, and this proves to be detrimental for his emotional as well as physiological well being.

This pump head issue raises the risk of developing depression after heart surgery. Friends and family must therefore, as a rule, arrange for a psychiatrist or therapist to visit the patient and interview him or her. If there are signs and symptoms of depression, appropriate intervention and help must be immediately provided.

Most people fail to understand that both cardiac problems and depression are equally lethal; treating cardiac problems and leaving depression untreated can risk further heart disease and even death of the patient.

If a heart patient has been diagnosed with pump head, it might help to get a psychiatric consultation to rule out depression. As we discussed earlier, wrongly diagnosing depression as pump head can cause serious problems to the patient. Depression needs immediate treatment and, if left untreated, the condition can result in further complications in the cardiac situation.

Conclusion for "Depression after Heart Surgery"

Therefore, in summary, after cardiac surgery, it is very important to examine the patient for signs and symptoms of depression. If diagnosis is confirmed, treatment and help should be immediately started. In addition, all treatment options must be shared with the consulting cardiologist in order to avoid contraindications with medications that are already being administered for postoperative care. Depression after heart surgery is a serious issue, and should be treated as such.

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