Depression linked to higher heart disease death risk in younger women

June 18, 2014

Women 55 and younger are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, die or require artery-opening procedures if they're moderately or severely depressed, according to new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Women in this age group are also more likely to have , so this may be one of the 'hidden' that can help explain why women die at a disproportionately higher rate than men after a ," said Amit Shah, M.D., M.S.C.R., study author and assistant professor of Epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. Investigators assessed in 3,237 people with known or suspected heart disease (34 percent women, average age 62.5 years) scheduled for coronary angiography, an X-ray that diagnoses disease in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. After nearly three years of follow-up, researchers found:

  • In women 55 and younger, after adjusting for other factors, each 1-point increase in symptoms of depression was associated with a 7 percent increase in the presence of heart disease.
  • In men and older women, symptoms of depression didn't predict the presence of heart disease.
  • Women 55 and younger were 2.17 times as likely to suffer a heart attack, die of heart disease or require an artery-opening procedure during the follow-up period if they had moderate or severe depression.
  • Women 55 and younger were 2.45 times as likely to die from any cause during the follow-up period if they had moderate or severe depression.

"All people, and especially younger women, need to take depression very seriously," Shah said. "Depression itself is a reason to take action, but knowing that it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and death should motivate people to seek help."

"Providers need to ask more questions. They need to be aware that young women are especially vulnerable to depression, and that depression may increase the risk to their heart," Shah said.

"Although the risks and benefits of routine screening for depression are still unclear, our study suggests that young women may benefit for special consideration" remarked Viola Vaccarino, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and Wilton Looney Chair of Epidemiology at Emory University. "Unfortunately, this group has largely been understudied before."

In 2008, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement recommending that depression be formally considered as a risk factor, like diabetes or hypertension, for increased risk. "Our data are in accordance with this recommendation, but suggest that young/middle aged women may be especially vulnerable to depression as a risk factor," Vaccarino added."

The research group is examining whether have more cardiovascular changes than men in response to a short-term mental stress, such as giving a public speech.

Explore further: Young women more affected than men by emotional stress after heart attack

Related Stories

Young women more affected than men by emotional stress after heart attack

March 14, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Younger women with a recent heart attack are more likely than men of the same age to experience myocardial ischemia, or inadequate blood flow to the heart, in response to emotional stress according to researchers ...

Young women fare worse than young men after heart attack

June 2, 2014
Women age 55 or younger may fare worse than their male counterparts after having a heart attack, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions ...

Depression in young people increases risk of heart disease mortality

November 11, 2011
The negative effects of depression in young people on the health of their hearts may be stronger than previously recognized. Depression or a history of suicide attempts in people younger than 40, especially young women, markedly ...

Gender-specific research improves accuracy of heart disease diagnosis in women

June 16, 2014
Diagnosing coronary heart disease in women has become more accurate through gender-specific research that clarifies the role of both obstructive and non-obstructive coronary artery disease as contributors to ischemic heart ...

Younger Hispanic women face higher risk of death from heart attack

November 19, 2013
Younger Hispanic women face a higher risk of death in hospitals after a heart attack, are more likely to suffer from co-existing conditions such as diabetes, and are less likely to undergo percutaneous coronary interventions ...

Depression linked to greater risk of peripheral artery disease

April 20, 2012
Depression may be associated with an increased risk of arterial narrowing in the legs and pelvis, a condition known as peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, ...

Recommended for you

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

July 18, 2017
Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Quantifying effectiveness of treatment for irregular heartbeat

July 17, 2017
In a small proof-of-concept study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report a complex mathematical method to measure electrical communications within the heart can successfully predict the effectiveness of catheter ablation, the ...

Concerns over side effects of statins stopping stroke survivors taking medication

July 17, 2017
Negative media coverage of the side effects associated with taking statins, and patients' own experiences of taking the drugs, are among the reasons cited by stroke survivors and their carers for stopping taking potentially ...

Study discovers anticoagulant drugs are being prescribed against safety advice

July 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham has shown that GPs are prescribing anticoagulants to patients with an irregular heartbeat against official safety advice.

Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

Heart study finds faulty link between biomarkers and clinical outcomes

July 14, 2017
Surrogate endpoints (biomarkers), which are routinely used in clinical research to test new drugs, should not be trusted as the ultimate measure to approve new health interventions in cardiovascular medicine, according to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.