Depression often gives people the impression that those suffering from the condition are just sad. The reality is much darker than that, as these individuals can feel helpless, emotionally empty, and even suicidal. Now, a new study announced in Yahoo! News finds that depression can increase the risk of heart failure.
According to Heidi May, an epidemiologist at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, and lead author of the study, depression increases the risk that people with heart disease caused by blockage of coronary arteries will develop heart failure.
A surprising element in the study’s findings was that treatment with antidepressant drugs did not reduce the risk of heart failure among people with depression. This was a surprise to May as antidepressants reduce the symptoms of depression, indicating they would decrease the risk of heart failure.
Depression struck 10 percent of the study participants after being diagnosed with heart disease. This group had an incidence of heart failure that was double the rate of those who did not have depression. The study showed no difference in the incidence of heart failure between people prescribed antidepressants and those not prescribed the drugs.
May highlighted that this study points to an increased danger for people with heart disease and depression, even if they take medicine that reduces the symptoms of depression. In addition, people with depression are less likely to follow recommendations for heart health and doctors need to emphasize the need to follow the rules for diet and exercise.
As this study was not a controlled trial, it does leave much room for interpretation in that other variables could be introduced into the treatment of those with depression and on antidepressants that could either improve or worsen their risk of heart failure.