Depression as Bad for Your Heart as Smoking

In All Health Watch, Anti-Aging, Featured Article, Heart and Cardiovascular

One of the worst things you can do to your heart is smoke. We all know that.

But now a new study has uncovered a surprising heart risk factor that is just as dangerous as cigarettes.

Researchers in Germany tracked over 3,400 men for 10 years. They found that depression raised their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease about the same amount as smoking and being obese. And depression was shown to be almost three times more dangerous to heart health as having diabetes.1

The findings were recently published in the journal Atherosclerosis. Dr. Karl-Heinz Ladwig led the study. He is a professor of psychosomatic medicine at the Institute of Epidemiology II at the Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Dr. Ladwig summed up the findings by saying “there is little doubt that depression is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”2

For decades, conventional medicine has referred to the “Big Five” when it comes to heart risk factors. They are smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.3

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Depression was never considered a major heart danger. But in the wake of the new findings, that may change.

The risk is widespread. More than 15 million American adults suffer from depression.4

Antidepressants Are Not the Answer

If you go to your doctor complaining of depression, chances are you’ll walk away with a prescription for an antidepressant medication. These drugs are incredibly popular. About 13% of Americans take them.5

But this standard treatment could actually increase your heart danger instead of reduce it.

A study at Emory University presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology found that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are linked to thicker arteries. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.6

SSRIs include antidepressants such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Lexapro (escitalopram).

A study at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston published in the British Medical Journal was even more disturbing. It found that SSRIs are associated with a dangerous disturbance of the electrical activity of the heart.

The higher the antidepressant dosage, the greater the disturbance. Changes in the heart’s electrical activity can lead to rhythm problems. This can result in cardiac arrest.7

As we’ve told you before, antidepressants are linked to other serious side effects as well. They include anxiety, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, birth defects, and even suicide in younger people.

Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any medication. But there may be a better to way treat your depression than with a risky drug.

Natural Treatment for Depression

It’s long been known that exercise and meditation fight depression. But a recent study found that putting the two together has a powerful synergistic effect.

Rutgers University scientists tested a regimen that was not difficult or time-consuming. The results were astounding. Patients saw a 40% reduction in depression symptoms. That’s much better than most people do on an antidepressant drug.

The program used in the study was simple:

  • First, meditate for 20 minutes. Subjects did a form of meditation called focused attention. It’s one of the easier types of meditation. It involves sitting still while thinking about your breathing. First you count your breaths up to 10 and then backward from 10. If your mind wanders, don’t worry about it. Start over counting from one.
  • Do 10 minutes of walking meditation. Focus intently on each step.
  • Finally, run on a treadmill or use a stationary bike for 30 minutes. Maintain a moderate pace.

Do this twice a week.

The depression sufferers in the study reported fast, effective relief…without taking a dangerous drug. But antidepressants aren’t the only drugs that could be putting your health at risk.

Our special report, The Top 10 Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs—And Their Natural Alternatives, has important information for you and family. There’s a good chance someone you love is endangering his or her life. And they may have no clue.

Get all the details HERE.

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