Heart Attack :: Emotional recovery helpful to heart attack patients

After a heart attack, fear, anger and depression are common reactions. According to the January issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource, recovering emotionally from a heart attack is vitally important to your physical health and well-being.

Women under age 60 who’ve experienced a heart attack seem most prone to depression. In one study, the prevalence of depression in women age 60 or younger was 40 percent, compared to 22 percent for men in the same age group.

According to Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource, people who develop depression after a heart attack are more likely to need hospital care within a year for a heart-related problem than are other heart attack survivors. They are also three times more likely to die of a future heart attack or other heart problems. The differences may be partially explained by a lack of follow-up care. If you’re depressed, you are less likely than other heart attack survivors to take medications and follow your doctor’s advice.

Here are tips to help recover emotionally after a heart attack:

* Discuss your feelings openly and honestly with your doctor, family members and friends.
* If you think you may be depressed, seek treatment. Research has not shown whether treating depression after a heart attack helps prevent future heart problems. Participating in counseling and taking medications as recommended may reduce symptoms.
* Ask your doctor about whether you should join a cardiac rehabilitation program. Many offer counseling and support groups.
* Get regular exercise as directed by your doctor. Exercise helps your heart health and can relieve anxiety, depression and other stressors.
* Try to resume hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed. You may find that they elevate your mood.

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