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Depression ups risk of heart failure by 40 percent

A team of medical researchers in Norway have discovered a link between depression and a higher risk of heart failure following an analysis of the medical records for 63,000 patients.  The study involved gathering data on blood pressure and smoking, body mass index and physical activity.   According to their findings, over a period of more than 11 years, almost 1,500 of the subjects developed heart failure.

Depression was reportedly assessed and then ranked for severity utilizing the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.  (The major symptoms of depression, of course, include: insomnia, irritability, lower energy levels, overeating, restlessness and worthlessness.)



Compared to people with no symptoms of depression, those with mild symptoms were 5 percent more likely to develop heart failure, and those with moderate to severe symptoms had a 40 percent increased risk.

The complete results, presented Friday at the official annual meeting of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions of the European Society of Cardiology in Stavanger, Norway. The research team reported that participants “with mild depression were at 5 percent higher risk of heart failure “while individuals with moderate to severe depression were at a 40 percent higher risk.

Lise Tuset Gustad an intensive care nurse from Levanger Hospital in Norway and first author stated: “Depressive symptoms increase the chance of developing heart failure and the more severe the symptoms are, the greater the risk.  Depressed people have less healthy lifestyles, so our analysis adjusted for factors such as obesity and smoking that could cause both depression and heart failure.  This means we can be confident that these factors did not cause the association.”

While the group acknowledges that their research findings should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, Gustad is confident and even addressed the issue of treatment.  While she noted that treatment for early stage depression can easily be treated by increasing physical activity and broadening one’s social circles, she also added that those “suffering from depression” can often find it difficult to follow a doctor’s advice and take medication as prescribed.

(Image courtesy of EdACUK)

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.