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When It’s More Than the Blues

Everyone feels a little down now and then. But people with heart disease are at increased risk for serious depression—and, unfortunately, many of them don’t know it. If not treated, depression can make you more likely to have future heart problems.

Know the symptoms

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether you are depressed or just feeling blue. Here are some symptoms to watch for:

  • Feeling sad or anxious

  • Feeling guilty, helpless, or worthless

  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities that you enjoyed in the past

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Having less energy or feeling tired

  • Too little or too much sleeping 

  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions

  • Changes in appetite or weight

  • Feeling irritable or restless

  • Thoughts of suicide or death

If you have most or all of these symptoms every day for at least 2 weeks, you may have depression.

You can get help

If you have symptoms of depression, talk with your healthcare provider. He or she may refer you to a counselor or other mental health specialist. Your healthcare provider may also prescribe medicine for your depression. A combination of counseling and medicine can be helpful in treating depression.

Studies have shown that exercise can also be helpful in treating depression. And getting regular exercise, like walking, is also a great way to keep your heart healthy.

Call 911

If you have thoughts of harming yourself, seek help right away. If you are at immediate risk, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. If you are worried about a friend or loved one, ask them in a caring way if they are thinking of harming themselves and help them get support.

Seeking help

If there is no immediate risk, call your healthcare provider or seek help online. In the U.S., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Or contact them online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. This resource provides immediate crisis intervention and information on local resources. It is free and confidential. 

Go online to the National Institute of Mental Health's website at www.nimh.nih.gov to learn more about depression.

Online Medical Reviewer: Ballas, Paul, DO
Online Medical Reviewer: Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2017
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