A new study has found that addressing depression with antidepressants may reduce heart risks.
The American Heart Association stated that there are currently 16 million Americans diagnosed with depression and heart disease, and consume more anti-depressants compared to other developed countries.
According to the lead author of the study, Heidi May, a cardiovascular epidemiologist, screening and treatment of symptoms of depression should be prioritized because depression is a known risk factor for heart disease.
In the study conducted on 5,300 people with moderate to severe depression in Utah, those who took antidepressants had 53% lower risk of death, heart disease and stroke in three years compared to those who forewent the antidepressants.
There was no finding that showed antidepressants could lower heart risks. The research team, however, theorized that treating depression might improve people’s behaviors and improve their habits that may, in turn, keep their health in good condition.
In a news interview, May said, “People who have depressive symptoms may not be as inclined to exercise, practice good health habits or comply with health advice.”
As depression eases, behavior changes and improves patient’s lifestyles.
Dr. Stacey Rosen, VP of Women’s Health at The Katz Institute for iPhone 6 home button not working Women’s Health, mentioned that clinical depression has shown physiologic effects detrimental to heart health and behavioral responses and actions that yield poor outcomes. She also emphasized on the importance of screening for depression as a standard procedure when approaching those who are at risk of and have heart disease.
The AHA recommended depression to be included in the list of more familiar risk factors for heart diseases, given the substantial evidence that supports the link between the two conditions.
While majority believe that depression is not a major condition, its causes are grave and needs attending to—touching on the need for cardiology clinicians to learn how to assess and treat psychosocial needs, given the relationship of depression and heart disease.