Depression Harms Heart as Much as Obesity and Cholesterol
Depression is as big a risk for cardiovascular disease in men as high cholesterol and obesity, according to a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis.
“There is little doubt that depression is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases,” explained researcher Karl-Heinz Ladwig. “The question now is: What is the relationship between depression and other risk factors like tobacco smoke, high cholesterol levels, obesity or hypertension — how big a role does each factor play?”
To answer the question, German researchers analyzed data from 3,428 male patients between the ages of 45 and 74 years over a period of 10 years. They compared the impact of depression with the four major risk factors.
“Our investigation shows that the risk of a fatal cardiovascular disease due to depression is almost as great as that due to elevated cholesterol levels or obesity,” Ladwig said. Only high blood pressure and smoking were found to be associated with a greater risk.
The researchers came to the conclusion that depression accounts for roughly 15 percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease. “That is comparable to the other risk factors, such as hypercholesterolemia, obesity and smoking,” Ladwig states. These factors cause 8.4 to 21.4 percent of the cardiovascular deaths.
Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in the U.S. and throughout the world, and accounts for about 1 in 3 deaths in America.
Depression is also prevalent in the U.S., affecting approximately 14.8 million Americans each year. Studies have shown that depression raises the risk of heart attack fourfold.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr Sylvia Hubbard