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Depression Raises Heart Risks

The effect is especially strong in younger adults, study suggests

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Depression can boost risks for coronary heart disease, especially in younger individuals, a new Swedish study shows.

Researchers reviewed data on nearly 45,000 patients admitted to a hospital for depression and found that 1,916 of them developed coronary heart disease (CHD). The researchers calculated that across all age and gender groups, people diagnosed with depression were 1.5 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than people who hadn't been diagnosed with depression.

Depressed individuals in the youngest age group in the study, 25 to 39 years old, were three times more likely to develop coronary heart disease.

"The present study showed that young to middle aged people hospitalized for depression had a high risk of developing CHD. Primary healthcare teams meet patients with depression, and it is important that they treat depression as an additional individual and independent CHD factor," concluded the researchers from the Karolinska Institute, in Huddinge.

"Patients with clinical depression should be given not only short-term treatment, but also maintenance therapy to prevent relapses and recurrences of depression," they wrote in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers advice on how to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

SOURCE: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, news release, Dec. 20, 2005
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