Link between depression, higher risk of cardio events may be because of change in health behaviors

Nov 25, 2008

The increased risk of cardiovascular events for patients with coronary heart disease and symptoms of depression appears to be largely explained by a change in health behaviors, especially a lack of physical activity, according to a study in the November 26 issue of JAMA.

Depression has long been recognized as a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease in healthy patients and for recurrent events in patients with established cardiovascular disease. Despite the substantial body of evidence demonstrating a strong link between depression and cardiovascular disease, the explanation for this association remains unclear, according to background information in the article. "Understanding how depression leads to cardiovascular events is necessary for developing interventions to decrease the excess cardiovascular morbidity [illness] and mortality [death] associated with depression," the authors write.

Mary A. Whooley, M.D., of the VA Medical Center, San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a study to determine why depressive symptoms are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. The study included 1,017 outpatients with stable coronary heart disease followed-up for an average of 4.8 years. Symptoms of depression were measured with a questionnaire, and various models were used to evaluate the extent to which the association of depressive symptoms with subsequent cardiovascular events (heart failure, heart attack, stroke, transient ischemic attack [a temporary cessation or reduction of blood supply to part of the brain], or death) were explained by disease severity at the beginning of the study and potential biological or behavioral factors.

The researchers found that participants with depressive symptoms had a 50 percent greater risk of cardiovascular events: the age-adjusted annual rate of cardiovascular events was 10.0 percent among the 199 participants with depressive symptoms and 6.7 percent among the 818 participants without depressive symptoms. Adjustment for physical activity was associated with a reduction in the strength of association between depressive symptoms and cardiovascular events.

When adjusted for other existing conditions and cardiac disease severity, depressive symptoms remained associated with a 31 percent higher rate of cardiovascular events. After further adjustment for certain health behaviors, including physical inactivity, there was no longer a significant association between depressive symptoms and cardiovascular events. Physical inactivity was associated with a 44 percent greater rate of cardiovascular events, after adjusting for various factors.

The researchers note that patients with depressive symptoms are less likely to adhere to dietary, exercise, and medication recommendations, and poor health behaviors can lead to cardiovascular events.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FDA adds heart warning to Pfizer anti-smoking pill

Jun 16, 2011

(AP) -- Federal health regulators are warning doctors and patients that Pfizer's anti-smoking drug Chantix may slightly increase the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Menopausal hot flashes may be a good sign for heart

Feb 24, 2011

You are enjoying a night out with friends when it starts; first you feel flush, then a sensation of warmth crawls down your body. Soon you begin perspiring and you feel as if everyone around you can tell what is happening ...

Recommended for you

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears

2 hours ago

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate vote that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

22 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

23 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

23 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

Dec 19, 2014

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.