Heart Failure and Depression
ξ Depression is common in people with heart failure.
o Depression is present in up to 70% of patients in the hospital.
o Depression is present in about 16-38% of people with heart failure.
o It is higher in women than men.
ξ Depression can lead to more symptoms of heart failure that can decrease your quality of
life and make heart failure harder to treat.
ξ Heart failure and depression have some of the same signs and symptoms.
ξ Treating depression can improve your health status.
Once you have heart failure, people react in different ways. Many people will have anxiety,
denial, depression, and fear. It is ok to have these feelings but it is important to be aware of
them and talk to your health care provider. Then, you can make a plan with them to cope with
Signs of Depression
ξ Feeling sad, lonely, and gloomy.
ξ Having less energy or no energy to do things that you used to do.
ξ Need more sleep.
ξ No desire for food.
ξ Weight changes.
ξ Having thoughts of guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness most of the time.
ξ Feel like you have nothing to live for.
Signs of Heart Failure
ξ You have no energy.
ξ Tire easily.
ξ Feeling crabby and on edge.
ξ Don’t want to eat.
ξ Hard to breathe when at rest or lying flat.
ξ Gain weight despite loss of appetite.
ξ Swollen abdomen, legs, arms, and face.
ξ Out of breath or cough.
ξ Chest congestion.
What can you do?
Health habits and choices can help you feel better and improve your heart failure and depression.
ξ Avoid tobacco and alcohol.
ξ Eat a heart-healthy diet.
ξ Exercise-it can reduce your depressive symptoms and improve cardiac fitness.
ξ Get enough sleep.
ξ Take your medicines.
Talk to your health care provider if you notice any signs and symptoms of depression Learn
about your illness and how it affects you. Think about how you cope with stress and write down
what helps you cope and what does not help. Some skills to cope are:
ξ Talk to your family and friends.
ξ Stay active with your hobbies/activities that you like to do.
ξ Learn to relax.
ξ Learn to avoid blaming yourself.
ξ Write a “to do list” and rest in between the tasks.
ξ Allow yourself grieving time- everyone needs time to come to term with changes in
ξ Join a support group- you are not alone.
ξ Seek extra help to deal with grief, anxiety, depression, and other problems.
Resources for you
American Heart Association www.heart.org
Heart Failure Society of America www.hfsa.org
UW-Heart Failure Program (608) 263-1690
Mental Health Services for Adults (608) 237-1661
National Alliance on Mental Health-Dane County www.namidanecounty.org
2059 Atwood Avenue, 4th floor
Madison, WI 53704
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Koenig, H. (2006). Recognition of Depression in Medical Patients With Heart Failure. Psychosomatics, 48(4), 338-
347. Retrieved March 12, 2009.
Lesman-Leegt, I., Jaarsma, T., Sanderman, R., Hillege, H., &Veldhuisen, D. (2008). Determinants of Depressive
Symptoms in Hospitalised Men and Women With Heart Failure. European Journal of Cardiovascular
Nursing, 7, 121-126. Retrieved March 12, 2009 from Nursing Consult database.
Newhouse, A. & Jiang, W. (2014). Heart failure and depression. Heart Failure Clinics 10: 295-304.
Thomas, S., et. al. (2008). Depression in patients with heart failure: prevalence, pathophysiological mechanisms, and
treatment. Critical Care Nurse Journals, 28(2), 40-55. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 11/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6885