Gender-Based Differences in Anxiety and Depression Following Acute Myocardial Infarction

Abstract Background: Among patients with heart disease, depression and anxiety disorders are highly prevalent and persistent. Both depression and anxiety play a significant role in cardiovascular disease progression and are acknowledged to be independent risk factors. However, there is very little gender-related analysis concerning cardiovascular diseases and emotional disorders. Objective: We aimed to evaluate depression and anxiety levels in patients suffering from myocardial infarction [MI] within the first month after the MI and to assess the association between cardiovascular disease risk factors, demographic indicators and emotional disorders, as well as to determine whether there are gender-based differences or similarities. Methods: This survey included demographic questions, clinical characteristics, questions about cardiovascular disease risk factors and the use of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS]. All statistical tests were two-sided, and p values < 0.05 were considered statistically significant. Results: It was determined that 71.4% of female and 60.4% of male patients had concomitant anxiety and/or depression symptomatology (p = 0.006). Using men as the reference point, women had an elevated risk of having some type of psychiatric disorder (odds ratio, 2.86, p = 0.007). The HADS-D score was notably higher in women (8.66 ± 3.717) than men (6.87 ± 4.531, p = 0.004). It was determined that male patients who developed depression were on average younger than those without depression (p = 0.005). Conclusions: Women demonstrated an elevated risk of having anxiety and/or depression disorder compared to men. Furthermore, depression severity increased with age in men, while anxiety severity decreased. In contrast, depression and anxiety severity was similar for women of all ages after the MI. A higher depression score was associated with diabetes and physical inactivity, whereas a higher anxiety score was associated with smoking in men. Hypercholesterolemia was associated with both higher anxiety and depression scores, and a higher depression score was associated with physical inactivity in women.