New York: Young women are especially vulnerable to depression and moderate and severe depression may double their risk of death from heart diseases, a new study says.
Women aged 55 and below were more than twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, die of heart disease or require an artery-opening procedure if they had moderate or severe depression, the findings showed.
"Physicians need to be aware that young women are especially vulnerable to depression, and that depression may increase the risk to their heart," said Amit Shah, assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory University in the US.
The researchers assessed depression symptoms in 3,237 people with known or suspected heart disease (34 percent women, average age 62.5 years).
After nearly three years of follow-up, the researchers found that in women aged 55 and younger, each one-point increase in symptoms of depression was associated with a seven percent increase in 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," researchers noted.
In men and older women, symptoms of depression did not predict the presence of heart disease.
"All people, and especially younger women, need to take depression very seriously. Depression itself is a reason to take action, but knowing that it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and death it should motivate people to seek help," Shah added.
The study appeared in the Journal of the American Heart Association.