Depression is a risk for heart disease


Depression should be added to the list of risk factors associated with heart disease including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking. The recommendation has been made to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Not surprising to experts

The research panel from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis looked at hundreds of studies to come to their conclusion. “The findings didn’t surprise us,” said Robert Carney, PhD. “Many studies have reported that depression predicts increased mortality, but it’s rare to delve into this kind of research as deeply and as carefully as we have. Although we suspected we would find this link, having gone through all of these studies and conducted such a careful evaluation, we are more confident than ever that depression is a risk factor for mortality in people who have heart disease.”

Treating depression may not help heart health

While stopping smoking and lowering blood pressuring will create better heart health, there is no such prediction for treating depression. “Unfortunately, very few studies have looked at that question,” Carney said. “And only one study has included enough subjects to determine whether treating depression could lower the risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease. Treatment did not lower the risk of heart attack or death, but that was the first study of its kind. More clinical trials are needed to identify treatments that may improve heart health along with depression.”

However, improved quality of life will have an influence

“We believe better depression treatments may improve survival,” Carney went on to say. “More effective treatment certainly will improve a patient’s quality of life. More research will be needed, though, before we can say treating depression can improve heart health or survival in patients with heart disease.”

Source: Circulation, MedicalNewsToday


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