Depression linked with heart disease

The likelihood that a person may suffer from heart disease in later life could be increased should they experience depression in their younger days. This is the suggestion of a new study published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, which found the negative effects of the condition on a person's health could be greater than previously thought.

According to the investigation, individuals under the age of 40 with a history of depression or suicidal tendencies - especially females - are at considerably greater risk of dying from heart disease.

Viola Vaccarino, Chair of Epidemiology at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health - which is located in Atlanta, US and is also part of the learning institute's Woodruff Health Sciences Center - described depression as a "remarkable risk factor" for the illness.

Ms Vaccarino added: "Among women, depression appears to be more important than traditional risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, obesity and diabetes which are not common in young women."

Dr Christine Bundy, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "The link between depression and CHD is well established but continues to be under-reported and under-treated. 

"Previous studies have not been able to determine the causal direction but these new findings confirm the impact of low mood on CVD risk. Established depression, especially for women, is a significant and independent risk factor for CHD in a younger population even after controlling for lifestyle behaviours.

"The challenge for Clinical and Health psychology now is to integrate existing evidence based individual treatments and population health strategies with existing services and within current funding constraints in order to make them available to appropriate patients."