The study was conducted by researchers at Emory University in Georgia who observed over 3,200 people with known or suspected heart disease. Around 34 percent of the participants were women with an average age of 62.5 years.
The participants were observed over a period of three years and the researchers found that people who had depression were 7 percent more likely to develop heart problems while women below 55 years of age were 2.17 times likely to suffer a heart attack, die of heart disease or require artery surgery.
"Women in this age group are also more likely to have depression, so this may be one of the 'hidden' risk factors that can help explain why women die at a disproportionately higher rate than men after a heart attack. All people, and especially younger women, need to take depression very seriously. Depression itself is a reason to take action, but knowing that it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and death should motivate people to seek help", lead researcher Amit Shah said.