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Anxiety and depression patients may need more heart health testing

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Canadian researchers are calling for more patients being treated for anxiety disorders and depression to receive extensive blood pressure and cholesterol testing following the results of their recent study, which showed that heart problems often go undiagnosed in these patients.

Previous studies have found that individuals with anxiety disorders and depression account for 20 percent of cardiac patients. They are significantly more likely to experience a cardiovascular problem.

However, the University of Quebec researchers found that traditional heart health screening methods, such as electrocardiograms (ECG), often miss symptoms that may indicate cardiovascular disease. Many of them may fall just below thresholds that most doctors use to determine illness. Therefore, the researchers recommended nuclear scan testing, which may be more accurate.

"An ECG is usually reliable for most people, but our study found that people with a history of cardiac illness and affected by anxiety or depression may be falling under the radar," said study co-author Simon Bacon. "Although it is a more costly test, undergoing an additional nuclear scan seems to be more effective at identifying heart disease."
 

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