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: Philippines boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare

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

US orders farms to report pig virus infections

23 hours ago

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

Apr 18, 2014

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73.

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Apr 18, 2014

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

New clues on tissue scarring in scleroderma

Apr 18, 2014

A discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...