Chase away the blues to save your heart

A lot of things become normal as you get older, but some things shouldn’t be accepted as just par for the course.

It’s common to get “down in the dumps” as the kids move away…and you’re not buzzing around the neighborhood like you used to…but an extended battle with the blues isn’t normal at ANY age.

So if you’re a senior fighting off prolonged depression, it’s time to get help before it turns into something far worse – and brings some very real physical risks along for the ride.

Some of them you can feel, like that knot in your gut that never seems to loosen up. But the biggest problem is one you can’t feel: inflammation.

Inflammation is a stone-cold killer, so I’m not surprised at all by a new study that finds seniors with depression face a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

In the study, more than 7,300 seniors were examined four times over seven years. Signs of depression during even one exam increased the risk of heart disease or stroke by 15 percent.

The longer those depression symptoms persisted, the higher that risk climbed.

Seniors who had signs of depression at all four of those exams were 75 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease or stroke over 10 years, according to the study in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

And if you already suffer from heart problems, depression can make them worse – with a study last year showing how depression will increase the risk of death in heart failure patients by a stunning 500 percent.

And it’s not just your heart you have to worry about. Research published last year found that this mood disorder can shrink the part of the brain that stores memories. And depression even doubles your risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to yet another study.

But before you get that script for an antidepressant filled, I am here to tell you that there are far better ways to fight depression!

If your battle is caused by life’s sad events such as loss, the best remedies are usually time, the support of loved ones, and prayer. If you need a little more help, natural therapies such as omega-3 fatty acid supplements and curcumin can both lift your mood and fight inflammation at the same time.

One study last year found curcumin supplements are as effective as the drug Prozac, but without the risks.

Herbal remedies such as St. John’s wort and homeopathic medicine can also help you overcome depression.

In some cases, however, depression can be caused by hormonal issues, nutritional problems, or toxins in the body. A holistic medical doctor can find and correct these problems and help you feel like yourself again.

If you’re in Southern California, I can run some tests here in my clinic to find what’s wrong – and once we know the cause, we can start fixing it. Not in Southern California? Not a problem! I’m also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.