It is a well known fact that depression and mental tensions can aggravate cardiovascular risks. However for the first time a study finds that treating moderate to severe depression with antidepressants will help considerably to reduce the cardiovascular risks.

The study revealed that persons who regularly took antidepressants alone had a 53% lower risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases like coronary artery disease, and stroke over three years than those who did not take antidepressants or statins like Atorvastatin.

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This fact was highlighted by Heidi May, PhD, MSPH, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City who along with her associates evaluated health data from 5,311 people in Utah with moderate to severe depression.

The study however found that statin either alone or with anti-depressants did not significantly reduce the risk. The key was the level of depression according to May which was reported in an ACC news release.

Though antidepressants therapy did not have much impact on the heart health of the people with little or no depression it had effects on persons with more serious forms of depression.

The study however could not prove that use of antidepressants helped in a lowering of cardiovascular risks. However, depression is an important risk factor for heart disease.

May and her team did not examine how antidepressants might prevent heart disease. However easing depressive symptoms can have an impact on the people’s behaviors which in the long run could be useful for the health of the heart.

She said, “For example, people who are having depressive symptoms may not be as inclined to exercise, practice good health habits, or comply with health advice. Using an antidepressant to reduce depressive symptoms might also help people better take care of their heart health.”

The findings will be presented on March 15 at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC).  The annual meeting will be held  from March 14 to 16 in San Diego.

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