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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – February is National Heart Month and one topic commonly discussed in heart disease. In a recent study, it is revealed that depression and other mental health illnesses can be a contributor to the development of heart disease.

According to the study, depression accounts for an estimated 15 percent of cardiovascular deaths.  Depression can often lead to lack of exercise, not eating heart-healthy foods, more alcohol consumption and an increase in smoking.  All of these things are contributors to an increased likelihood of developing heart disease.

Doctor of Cardiology at SSM Health Depaul Hospital Elie Azrak joins us this morning to discuss how depression can be a contributor to heart disease and how to prevent it.