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Published on Oct 15, 2015
Depression is almost three times more common in people who had a heart attack. Some have chronic depression which start before their heart attack while others become depressed as an acute reaction to the hospitalisation and the event. Depressive symptoms in cardiac patients often differ from those of psychiatric patients. Frequently they don't say they feel sad or hopeless but instead complain of insomnia, fatigue or body pain. The different clinical presentation contributes to the under diagnosis of depression in cardiac patients. Depression after a heart attack can lead to poor adherence to treatment, skipping medical appointments, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, social isolation, and poor self esteem. Patients who are depressed after a heart attack have a two-fold risk of having another heart attack or dying compared to those who are not depressed. The behavioural changes associated with depression may be partly responsible for the worse outcomes in heart attack patients who are depressed. Cardiac rehabilitation with aerobic exercise can reduce depressive symptoms and improve cardiovascular fitness. The study found that at one year, heart attack patients should stop smoking and to be physically active. They should do moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week to be within recommended levels. This level of physical activity is good for your mental and physical health.