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In the latest news from the Gallup-Heathways Well-Being Index, U.S. adults who have had a heart attack are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, 30.1% vs. 15.0%, respectively. The implications of this link are not only an enormous burden on the lives of those who suffer from heart disease and depression, but also on the purse of the American healthcare system.

U.S. adults who have had a heart attack are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression

Reporters Jade Wood and Dan Witters write:

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S., and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that coronary heart disease costs the U.S. $108.9 billion each year in healthcare services, medications and lost productivity. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide among all chronic diseases. Previous Gallup research shows that depression costs U.S. employers $23 billion annually in lost productivity, and those who are unemployed, especially the long-term unemployed, are even more likely to be diagnosed with depression.

Dr. Ornish is quoted in the story, explaining why depression can increase a person’s odds of having a heart attack.

“Feeling depressed makes it harder to make healthy lifestyle choices. People are more likely to smoke, overeat, drink too much and work too hard when they’re feeling lonely and depressed. One patient said to me, ‘I’ve got 20 friends in this pack of cigarettes, they’re always there for me and no one else is — you want to take away my 20 friends?’ In our research, we’ve found that people are more likely to make lifestyle choices that are life-enhancing than self-destructive when they’re feeling happy and loved.”

Read the full story here.

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