Monday, March 16, 2009

Depression a Risk Factor for Heart Disease in Women

Women who suffer severe depression may be at greater risk for cardiac events, including sudden cardiac death and coronary heart disease, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

A study involving 63,469 women with no previous history of heart disease or stroke, revealed that depression indicated a higher risk of sudden cardiac events, and those with clinical depression were more than twice as likely to suffer sudden cardiac death.

A significant part of the heightened risk for cardiac events seems to be explained by the fact that coronary heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and smoking were more common among women with more severe depressive symptoms


The study found that women with more severe depressive symptoms or those who reported taking antidepressants were at higher risk for SCD and fatal CHD.

"We can't say antidepressant medications were the cause of higher risk of sudden cardiac death. It may well be that use of antidepressants is a marker for worse depression".


The study findings highlight the need for women with depression to monitored closely for risk factors associated with coronary heart disease. Risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and smoking were found to be more common in women with depressive symptoms.

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