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Depression and Heart Disease link

Depressed postmenopausal women have a 50 percent greater risk of developing or dying from heart disease than those not depressed, raising the possibility that treating the mind could help the body fight cardiovascular ills, researchers report.
The finding comes from a four-year government study of 93,676 women across the United States.
“While various biological mechanisms have been suggested to link depression and depressive symptoms to coronary heart disease, what is most striking about our findings is that depression was found to be an independent risk-factor for subsequent cardiovascular death,” said Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, chief author of the study.
“Coupled with evidence from other studies examining the role of subclinical (mild) depression as an increased risk factor for disease and death, our findings raise the possibility that treating depression may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease,” she added.
“Whether the use of antidepressants by depressed but otherwise healthy women will lower the risk of developing and dying from heart disease remains to be determined in a randomized clinical trial,” she said.
Depressed women with no history of heart disease at the start of the study were 50 percent more likely to die of heart disease later on than those not depressed, the study found. Women with severe depression or other forms of diagnosed mental illness were not included in the study.

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