Women aged 55 and younger are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or die young if they are moderately or severely depressed, a study has found. Depression more than doubled the chances of women in this age group having a heart attack, dying from heart disease or any other cause, or undergoing artery-opening surgery, said researchers. The researchers assessed 3,237 people with suspected heart disease, 34% of whom were women.
Depression itself is a reason to take action, but knowing that it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and death should motivate people to seek help.
Lead scientist Dr Amit Shah
The results showed no link between symptoms of depression and heart disease in men or older women. But in women aged 55 and younger, each one-point increase in depression symptoms was associated with a 7% increased likelihood of heart disease. Younger women were 2.17 times more likely to suffer a heart attack, die from heart disease, or require artery-opening surgery if they had moderate or severe depression. They were also 2.45 times at greater risk of dying from any cause if they were depressed.