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Perspectives

How can one mend a broken heart? Depression and cardiovascular disease

Ana Lusicic, David J Castle

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Abstract

A strong association has been found between depression and cardiovascular disease. The GP plays an important role in screening cardiac patients for depression and monitoring cardiac and depressive outcomes.

Key Points

  • Epidemiological and clinical studies indicate a bidirectional association between depression and cardiovascular disease.
  • Interplay between depression and cardiovascular disease contributes to risk and outcomes of both conditions.
  • Screening for depression in patients with cardiovascular disease is recommended in routine clinical practice.
  • Treatment should encompass lifestyle modification (e.g. diet, exercise), and specific psychological interventions should be offered where appropriate.
  • Pharmacotherapy requires careful balancing of efficacy versus risk, specifically cardiac risk issues.

    Picture credit: © Sturti/iStockphoto. Model used for illustrative purposes only.

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