For young women, depression tied to risk of heart problems

Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:10am EDT
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By Kathryn Doyle

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women under age 55 with suspected heart problems are twice as likely to have a heart attack, require artery-opening procedures or die if they also have depression, according to a new study. 

“We can’t prove with this study that depression causes heart disease, but we can say that these women do worse over time,” lead author Dr. Amit Shah, from Emory University in Atlanta, told Reuters Health.

In general, depressed people are more likely to have heart problems than people without depression, but the exact increase in risk has varied in previous studies, he and his colleagues write. They suspected some of that variation was because the effect of depression might differ in different groups of people.

For their study, the researchers looked at more than 3,000 people who were scheduled for cardiac catheterization procedures to diagnose coronary artery disease or some other suspected heart problem. Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.