Harvard Heart Letter

Depression and heart disease: A two-way street

Watch for the warning signs of depression, which is often missed in people with heart disease.

depression and heart disease
Image: gpointstudio/Thinkstock

All people have days when they feel sad, gloomy, or down in the dumps. But if those feelings last for weeks and you gradually stop feeling hopeful or happy about anything in your life, you may have depression. Like heart disease, depression is common, so it's not unusual to have both conditions together. In fact, depression is about twice as likely to occur in people with heart disease compared with the general population. And people with depression face a heightened risk of heart disease.

"It's really important for people to be aware of this link and to get treatment for depression, because it can be very debilitating," says Dr. Christopher Celano, a psychiatrist at the Cardiac Psychiatry Research Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

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