A middle-aged female vascular patient being comforted by a family member

Vascular Disease, Depression, and Dual Diagnoses

“Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting 6.7% (more than 16 million) of American adults each year,” Mental Health America reports.

That being said, depression may not exactly be at the front of your mind when you remain focused on treating and/or optimizing your vascular health. After all, the two are entirely different problems, right?

Well, not necessarily.

Depression: It’s Not All in Your Head

Simply put, depression is a mental illness that — as indicated by its classification — is considered to be largely experienced within one’s own mind and emotions.

That being said, depression can have a very real impact on the physical body, as well. For example, depression may cause the body to produce more stress hormones, the likes of which increase one’s risk for developing heart conditions.

Depression may also negatively impact the immune system. Moreover, it may be linked to other pre-existing conditions.

“Some risk factors for depression are directly related to having another illness,” the National Institute of Mental Health explains. “For example, conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and stroke cause changes in the brain. In some cases, these changes may have a direct role in depression.”

Linking Vascular Disease with Depression

The bottom line is that research indicates “depression has a clear bidirectional relationship with vascular diseases,” such as peripheral artery disease (PAD).

But what, exactly, might that intersection of conditions and depression look like? And how common is it?

“It has been reported that nearly a third of patients with PAD have comorbid depression or have experienced depressive symptoms,” according to Vascular News. “ We have shown that worse depressive symptoms are correlated with higher levels of inflammation, which may mediate the development of PAD and adverse outcomes.”

Specifically, among these PAD patients, studies have shown that depression may lead to…

  • Decreased patency after peripheral revascularisation
  • Worsened claudication
  • An increase in the incidence of major amputation
  • And more

When It’s Time to Reach for Help

Regardless of which of the aforementioned you believe you may be experiencing, the next step is clear: reach out for professional help.

If you believe you may be suffering from depression, we encourage you to reach out to a licensed mental health professional you can trust to evaluate your symptoms and help guide you toward both mental and emotional wellness.

And, as for vascular conditions, the team here at Duval Vascular Center is always ready and waiting to offer you the individualized care you need. From PAD to varicose veins and more, we offer industry-leading treatment options in our state-of-the-art outpatient center — where you can even request a FREE vein screening!

So, are you ready to open the door to the next level of comprehensive care? If so, contact our team today by calling (904) 518-1398!