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Heart ache and depression go together. But now we find out that depression and heart disease are also linked, especially in people younger than 40. For people, mostly women, who have had a history of depression or suicide attempt, their risk for dying from heart disease increases remarkably. The new study is published in Archives of General Psychiatry.
“This is the first study looking at depression as a risk factor for heart disease specifically in young people,” says senior author Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, chair of epidemiology at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. “We’re finding that depression is a remarkable risk factor for heart disease in young people. Among women, depression appears to be more important than traditional risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, obesity and diabetes which are not common in young women.”
They analyzed data from 7,641 people between 17 and 39 years old who participated in the NHANES-II national survey. The survey was conducted between 1988 and 1994. They found women with depression or a history of attempted suicide were three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and at a 14 times higher risk of dying from a heart attack. Men were 2.4 times higher and 2.5 times higher in those same categories, respectively.
This is the first time suicide attempt was considered in depressive history as well as the first time this young demographic was considered.
Researchers did find some lifestyle choices, like smoking and alcohol consumption, may influence the outcome. However, even after correcting for these factors, the risk was still high. “Direct physiological effects of depression may play a greater role than lifestyle factors in this young population,” the authors wrote.
Researchers speculate that the reason why is because depression may increase risk of heart disease through physiological mechanisms, such as lower heart rate variability and increased cortisol and inflammation.
Source: Archives of General Psychiatry, MedicalNewsToday
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