The American Heart Association has concluded that depression can accelerate atherosclerosis as well as promote the onset and severity of the coronary risk factors of diabetes, hypertension, and high levels of low-density lipoprotein.The most important reason depression increases the risk for, or worsens outcomes in, cardiovascular disease, is its effects on lifestyle and compliance with recommended treatments. Depression has been shown to increase the risk of an unhealthy lifestyle, including
smoking; diet higher in calories, salt, and saturated fat; and decrease in exercise and medication compliance. Each of these increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and worsens the outcome. The value of a healthy lifestyle and compliance with treatments can't be underestimated. The risk of myocardial infarction and strokes increases 10-fold in patients who do not follow their physicians recommendations, compared with those who do.
In fact, The prevalence of depression in patients with cardiovascular disease is threefold higher than that in the general population.