A middle-aged man and vascular patient looks sad, and reaches up to hold a loved one's hand

Can Vascular Disease Cause Depression? — Answering Your Top 3 Questions

Constant fatigue. Hopelessness. Numbness. Perhaps even a rapid change in your appetite or weight. These are all potential signs that you’re living with depression, and you may not even realize it.

And if this is the case, we want to assure you that you are not alone.

In fact, especially if you’re living with a vascular condition, you may find that your disease is the potential cause of your mental health obstacles. Let’s explore:

#1 — What Is Depression?

While some may conflate depression with generalized feelings of sadness, the two are not quite the same.

Rather, “depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life,” the World Health Organization (WHO) explains. “Especially when recurrent and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition.”

What’s more, as of 2020, a reported 8.4% of the U.S. population struggles with depression, meaning it may be more common than many initially realize.

That being said, depression might be a mental health concern, but it does not exist solely in one’s mind. Actually, depression and physical health are intertwined, wherein one may affect the other in instances of great change.

#2 — Does Your Condition Cause Depression?

“People with other chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of depression,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health. “Some people may experience symptoms of depression after being diagnosed with a medical illness. Those symptoms may decrease as they adjust to or treat the other condition.”

Thus, it would not be a stretch to conclude that patients living with chronic venous insufficiency or peripheral arterial disease (PAD) — which involves chronic inflammation of the arteries — may develop depression after and/or as a result of their condition.

In fact, studies have developed the “vascular depression” hypothesis, through which researchers have speculated that vascular diseases “precipitates or perpetuates depression” in vascular patients.

In short, while we cannot be conclusive, thus far the science is pointing us in the direction of “yes”; it is possible that depression is directly related to the onset and diagnosis of chronic vascular conditions.

#3 — Can You Treat Both Conditions?

While there’s not going to be any one simple path forward, the short answer to this question is also “yes.” However, treatment will look different for each patient.

For example, one patient may experience relief from depressive symptoms as their vascular condition is improved with proper attention. Another patient, however, may need to treat their depression separately from their physical condition.

In either case, help is always available.

When it comes to finding the vascular care you need, Duval Vascular Center is ready and waiting to provide you with the state-of-the-art outpatient solutions you deserve. From your initial FREE vein screening and beyond, no matter your needs, your health is our priority.

To learn more and schedule your appointment, contact our team today by calling (904) 518-1398!