Mind and body are really two halves of the same whole. Each profoundly influences the other. Depression and heart disease are a good example of this duality. People who are depressed are more likely to develop heart disease than people who aren't depressed, and those who have heart disease are more likely to fall into depression. But it is possible to exploit this two-way street and simultaneously heal the mind and the heart, reports the February 2009 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.
Depression isn't just in the mind. It causes a host of physical changes that can lead to heart trouble. It increases inflammation, which is involved in artery-clogging atherosclerosis and the rupture of plaque. It boosts the production of stress hormones, which dull the response of the heart and arteries. It activates blood platelets, making them more likely to form clots in the bloodstream.
Behavioral changes wrought by depression may be even more important. People who are depressed find it hard to exercise, to pay attention to what they are eating, and to take medicines needed to protect the heart.
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