Posted on Dec 21, 2011, 6 a.m.
People who are depressed may have a dysfunctional biological stress system, putting them at greater odds of having a heart attack.
Depression may have more far-reaching consequences than previously believed. Recent data suggests that individuals who suffer from a mood disorder could be twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to individuals who are not depressed. Simon Bacon, from Concordia University (Canada), and colleagues have elucidated a possible mechanism for this association. The team enrolled 886 men and women, average age 60 years, 5% of whom were diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. All subjects were asked to undergo a stress test after which their heart rate and blood pressure were recorded. Recovery heart rates and blood pressure levels were compared between depressed and non-depressed individuals. The team found that depressed individuals have a slower recovery time after exercise compared to those who are non-depressed. In that their further analyses yielded the finding that a dysfunctional biological stress system affects depressed individuals, the study authors warn of the importance of testing for cardiovascular disease among people suffering from major depression.
Gordon JL, Ditto B, Lavoie KL, Pelletier R, Campbell TS, Arsenault A, Bacon SL. “The effect of major depression on postexercise cardiovascular recovery.” Psychophysiology. 2011 Nov;48(11):1605-10.