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Home Health Blog

Study observes struggles of heart attack victims' spouses

Posted by RHHAdmin on Aug 22, 2012 8:36:00 AM

A heart attack can be a traumatic experience for all loved ones, particularly spouses of the victim. Now, a new study sheds light on just how emotionally draining it is for the spouse of a heart attack victim.

According to research published in the European Heart Journal, the significant others of people who have a sudden heart attack, otherwise known as an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), are at a higher risk of depression and suicide. The study's authors noted that these spouses have a harder time coping than the husbands and wives of people with other medical conditions.

"We found that more than three times the number of people whose spouses died from an AMI were using antidepressants in the year after the event compared with the year before. In addition, nearly 50 times as many spouses used a benzodiazepine after the event compared to before. For people whose spouse had died from a non-AMI cause, we saw a much higher rate of medication use than for other causes and they had an approximately 50 percent higher likelihood of claiming a prescription for these drugs," said the first author of the study, Dr Emil Fosbol.

Fosbol continued that of the patients who survived the heart attack, there was still a 17 percent increase in antidepressant use for their spouses. Significant others who had their loved ones survive other conditions remained unchanged in antidepressant use over those whose spouses died.

The researchers suggested that this was a health issue that needed to be addressed so spouses do not have to suffer in silence. It may be a good idea to look into home health care help for people who have suffered from an AMI, as the spouse may feel less overwhelmed by the burden of care. Additionally, these caregivers may be able to lend support in other ways.

Heart disease remains the number one killer in the U.S., and it's important to know the signs of a heart attack for better treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms such as discomfort in the chest region, or other areas of the upper body could be signs of an oncoming heart attack. Shortness of breath and breaking out in a cold sweat are other factors people should be aware of.

Residential Home Health is a leading provider of in-home nursing and therapy care throughout Michigan and Illinois. In addition to home health care, Residential's continuum of care includes Residential Hospice and Healthy Living Medical Supply. If you are interested in learning more about the home care services Residential provides, please call 866-902-4000 or visit www.residentialhomehealth.com.

Topics: Health News, Heart Disease, Bereavement