Healthy people who are severely depressed are far more likely to suffer heart attack and fatal coronary disease, researchers have discovered in a study that adds further weight to the idea of a body-mind connection.
In a study of 63,469 women, researchers found that those who were clinically depressed were more than twice as likely to suffer a fatal heart attack. The women were tracked from the time they were healthy until they started showing symptoms of depression, or had started taking antidepressant drugs.
Once they were depressed, those women were more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and were smokers, all risk factors in heart disease.
The researchers raised the possibility that the antidepressant drugs might be responsible for heart disease, but believe this is unlikely.
(Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2009; 53: 950-8).