According to a new study from researchers from Duke University, patients who suffer from chronic heart failure, but who exercise have intermediate reductions in symptoms of depression within one year.
Researchers say that an estimated five million people in the United States alone have heart failure. More than a half a million new cases will be diagnosed this year. Sadly, 40% of this patients will also suffer from depression. Over seventy five percent of patients say they feel a significant rise is depressive symptoms.
"Compared with guideline-based usual care, exercise training resulted in a modest reduction in depressive symptoms, although the clinical significance of this improvement is unknown," the authors wrote.
The British Medical Journal says even the mildest cases of depression or anxiety can lead to an early cardiovascular death.
The participants of this study performed supervised aerobic activities, for 90 minutes per week for three months. After this time period, the exercise participants had a depression score of 8.95 while the “usual care” group scored 9.70. After a year of exercise, participants scored an average of 8.86 where as the usual care scored 9.54.
More specifically, the 28% of patients who had significant depressive symptoms seemed to follow a more hopeful trend. It seems the more depressed a person was the greater the improvements with exercise. And after 30 months of exercise, the group was at slightly lower risk of hospitalization and even death.
The good news is, exercise is in “the same ballpark” as anti depression medications according to Duke University’s Medical Center, James Blumenthal.