Depression is a mental health disease that affects one out of every 10 American individuals. While the symptoms of sadness may be devastating on their own, current research has shown that it can also raise the risk of heart disease. Rather than being a one-way path, depression and heart health might be a two-way street.

Depression may be triggered by heart disease and the anxiety of treating poor heart health. This is not unexpected. Surprisingly, depression may induce heart disease similarly as high cholesterol, smoking, or hypertension can. In the following sections, we will delve further into the connection between depression and heart health.

The Effects of Depression On the Body

Depression is more than just feeling down or experiencing chronic emotions of despair, sorrow, and emptiness. Headaches, weariness and sleeplessness, weight fluctuations, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and inflammation are all common symptoms of depression. An imbalance in our biochemistry is often a contributing factor to depression. Our bodies’ chemicals and hormones function in a variety of ways, and a lack of one or more may result in a variety of physical, mental, and emotional repercussions.

Depression is exacerbated by low levels of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. These same neurotransmitters contribute to the vigor of other body activities. Low norepinephrine levels may also result in hypotension (extremely low blood pressure), hypoglycemia, and restless leg syndrome. Dopamine shortage may induce muscular cramps, spasms, or tremors, as well as problems sleeping. Finally, low serotonin can cause difficulties sleeping and hinder blood clotting in reaction to injury.

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