Lowcountry experts explain link between heart and mental health
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Heart health and mental health are often viewed separately, but Trident Medical Care wants people to understand how the two are connected.
A few months ago, Jackie Salire’s heart was unknowingly in AFib, slowing the mom of three down tremendously.
“I can remember Halloween night, I walked, but I remember on my way home I literally stopped three or four times, bent over, and could not catch my breath,” Salire said. “I didn’t know if I was going to make it back to my house.”
After being diagnosed for heart failure, Salire has experienced anxiety.
She fears falling back into an irregular heart rate and not being able to do typical activities with her boys.
Health care professionals at Trident Medical Center say after a cardiac event, it’s crucial to be aware of depression and anxiety symptoms.
Manager of Outpatient Mental Health at Trident Medical Patsy Unger says patients say they no longer enjoy activities they have in the past.
“They have feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, sadness or crying episodes, having thoughts that it’s more difficult to go out in public,” Unger said.
Chelsey Kight, a nurse practitioner at Trident, says lately the patients she’s seeing are younger than the year’s past, and that’s resulting in more mental health issues.
“Heart issues can be a bit overwhelming, so we like to reinforce to our patients that it’s normal to feel this way and that there are way that we can help them or make sure we refer them to someone that can help them,” Kight said.
Kight explains in many cases, if patients get put on medication for anxiety or depression, it’s not long-term.
“Sometimes you just need something to help you just a little bit, just to kind of help get you through until you get better with medication and lifestyle changes,” Kight said.
She urges those who know someone dealing with heart health challenges to pay attention to their quality of life.
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