A new study suggests that young women with depression are about twice as likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, looked at 3,237 patients who were undergoing a coronary angiography and were included in the Emory Cardiovascular Biobank. Researchers found that women who are 55 years old or younger are most likely to have heart problems from depression.

Women with moderate to severe depression could be up to two times more at risk for a heart attack or heart disease than women without depression. Depression did not have this effect on people of a different age group or sex group, the study noted.

“As a whole, these studies suggest that young women may be especially susceptible to the cardiovascular consequences of psychosocial risk factors, especially depression,” wrote the authors of the study, referring to similar studies done.

The researchers also noted that this should impact how clinics view and treat young women with depression for the better.

“As young women have significantly higher post-myocardial infarction mortality than young men,” the authors wrote. “More attention should be paid to depression in this high-risk group, especially because less than 20% of depressed post-MI patients (in general) receive pharmacologic treatment.”

“Although treatment for depression has yet to show a significant benefit in the prognosis of coronary artery disease, particularly among women, emerging data suggest that stress reduction customized for women could be helpful in this respect,” they noted.

Although this news should influence the way young women monitor both their mental health and their cardiovascular problems, more research will need to be done to make sure this information is as accurate as possible. More of a diverse population should be looked at, noted the researchers, in order to make the study complete.

The study was supported by the NIH, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the Emory Heart and Vascular Institute. It was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, and can be read there for free.

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