Effective treatment of depression can also benefit heart health, a new study finds.
Depression treatment reduces the risk of heart failure, heart attack and stroke, the research found.
Dr Heidi May, part of the team involved in the study, said:
“Our study shows that prompt, effective treatment of depression appears to improve the risk of poor heart health.”
The results come from examining the medical records of 7,550 patients in the Intermountain Healthcare database.
They found that if untreated, depression led to around a 30% higher chance of cardiovascular risk.
Those who were successfully treated for depression, though, had the same cardiovascular risk as those who were not depressed.
Dr May said:
“With the help of past research, we know depression affects long-term cardiovascular risks, but knowing that alleviating the symptoms of depression reduces a person’s risk of heart disease in the short term, too, can help care providers and patients commit more fully to treating the symptoms of depression.
The key conclusion of our study is: If depression isn’t treated, the risk of cardiovascular complications increases significantly.”
Dr May continued:
“There’s little publically-available data about this question.
But now with the help of Intermountain’s depression registry, we have the ability to start answering some of these difficult questions.
What we’ve done thus far is simply observe data that has previously been collected.
In order to dig deeper, we need do a full clinical trial to fully evaluate what we’ve observed.”
The study was presented at the 2016 American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in Chicago.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Image credit: dierk schaefer