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Get treatment for post-heart-attack depression

Mar. 20, 2013 @ 10:35 PM

What's more serious than a heart attack? Being seriously bummed out after having one.

Around 20 percent of patients develop depression after a heart attack, and it's really important to treat those blues pronto. If you survive a heart attack but get hit with major depression and don't treat it, you're three times more likely to die within six months than if you treat the condition quickly.

Now, you might think: "Hey, I just had a heart attack! How can I be happy?" But you need to stay positive. Focus on this fact: You have the power to make sure you never have another heart attack.

To do that:

Recognize the difference between being ticked off (I really hate this!) and being depressed (It's all downhill from here!). If you're perpetually negative, alert your doctor.

If you're diagnosed with depression, use a combination of physical activity (a supervised walking program), an anti-inflammatory diet (eliminate any grain that isn't 100 percent whole, all trans and most saturated fats, and all added sugars and sugar syrups), talk therapy and medication to help you recover from the heart attack and the depression.

Get supportive care to change your lifestyle habits. Most insurance programs and Medicare will pay for a regular cardiac rehab program (which focuses on exercise) or an intensive cardiac rehab that provides exercise plus nutrition advice and social support. These programs are a great idea, because they can help you make sure you never need post-heart-attack care again. You CAN take control.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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