Experts have long thought depression could be bad for your heart. A new study demonstrates just how dangerous it can be. Brenda Penninx, a US gerentologist, and colleagues followed 2847 people over the age of 55- both with and without heart disease- for four years to trace the effects of depression.
They then found that people with major depression were at least three times as likelyto die of heart disease as were patients who weren't depressed.Even subjects with mild depression experienced a fatality rate that was 50 percent higher than normal.
Brenda isn't sure exactly what the connection is, but since depression can raise stress, and stress triggers an outpouring of the hormone cortisol, this could cause heart rate and blood pressure to rise.Other factor could play a part: Depressed people are lesslikely to excercise or eat right than those who don't suffer from the complaint.Brenda says, "It's a huge cardiac risk factor,so it's really crucial to take care of your emotions."