New data from a 10-year study shows that a troubled mind could lead to a troubled heart.
Depression is now just as dangerous for your heart as obesity and high blood pressure.
The new research has revealed that almost one-in-five fatal heart attacks are ’caused by mental health condition’. In essence, depression causes 15 percent of cardiac arrests.
That is just shy of the 21 percent of heart attacks caused by obesity, and more than the 8.4 percent caused by high blood pressure, the Daily Mail reports.
Experts warn the findings are of vital importance since depression affects 350 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.
“There is little doubt that depression is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases,” lead author Professor Karl-Heniz Ladwig, from the Technical University of Munich, said.
“The question now is, what is the relationship between depression and other risk factors like tobacco smoke, high cholesterol levels, obesity or hypertension?
“How big a role does each factor play?”
To assess the risks, Dr Ladwig’s team analysed data from 3,428 male patients aged between 45 and 74 years old for 10 years.
They studied the impact of depression on the heart, comparing it with the four most common risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity.
Over the period of the study, 557 people died – 269 of them from heart disease.
Their results showed depression was the root cause for 15 percent of deaths.
Meanwhile, high blood pressure and smoking were linked and caused between 8.4 percent and 21.4 percent of heart diseases-related deaths.
“Our data show that depression has a medium effect size within the range of major, non-congenital risk factors for cardiovascular diseases,” Professor Ladwig said.
Image credit: National Elf Service