How is depression and heart disease connected?
New research shows that the biological and chemical factors that trigger depression, also influence your risk of heart disease! Meaning, factors that aggravate depression can also aggravate heart disease. That explains why up to 70% of people with heart disease meet or exhibit depressive symptoms. Studies show that depression doubles your risk of mortality and adverse cardiac events after myocardial infarction or heart failure [proving that aggravates]. The American Heart Association (AHA) has even labeled depression a risk factor.
Secondary Service Connection
Therefore, irrelevant of which condition you have service connected, the other can be secondary to the first. For example, if you already have service-connected depression, then you develop heart disease, often you can service connect your heart disease because it was caused or aggravated by your service-connected depression. The same applies if you have service-connected heart disease. An increase of heart symptoms sharply increases the prevalence and risk of depression(showing that it can both aggravate and cause depression).
How to prove
Reminder, just because science is on your side does not mean you can just state it’s secondarily connected. You have to prove that your service-connected condition caused or aggravated your other condition. For instance, get a medical opinion stating that it is more likely than not that one caused or aggravated the other. Another way to demonstrate the likelihood is by narrowing down the other factors that can cause one. For example, if you don’t have heart disease in the family and none of the other risk factors apply to you, it increases the likelihood that your service-connected depression caused/aggravated your heart disease. This argument works both ways. Make sure you’re not just stating your connection, but instead, showing it with facts and medical opinions.
Veterans Help Group 24 years of experience helps veterans prove their claims effectively and efficiently. If you’d like help proving your secondary condition, call or chat with us online.