Monday, February 20, 2012

Depression's Behavior Changes Linked to Heart Risks

(HealthDay News) -- Negative changes in health behaviors are a major reason why heart patients with depression have an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack, say U.S. researchers who followed 1,017 outpatients with stable coronary heart disease for an average of 4.8 years.

Depression has long been recognized as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in healthy people and for recurrent events in patients with cardiovascular disease. But the reason for this association hasn't been clear.

Dr. Mary A. Whooley, of the VA Medical Center in San Francisco, and her colleagues used a questionnaire to measure the heart disease patients' symptoms of depression. The researchers then used various models to evaluate the connection between subsequent cardiovascular events (such as heart failure, heart attack, stroke), depression, disease severity at the start of the study, and biological and behavioral factors.

The researchers found that patients with depression had a 50 percent greater risk of cardiovascular events -- 10 percent among those with depression compared to 6.7 among those without depression. When the researchers adjusted for other existing conditions and cardiac disease severity, depression was associated with a 31 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events. Read more...

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