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Depression increases risk of heart failure

People with mild symptoms of depression have an slight increase in the risk of heart failure, but those with moderate to severe symptoms had a 40 percent increased risk.
By Alex Cukan   |   April 4, 2014 at 5:59 PM
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STAVANGER, Norway, April 4 (UPI) -- People with mild symptoms of depression have an slight increase in the risk of heart failure, but those with moderate to severe symptoms had a 40 percent increased risk.

First author Lise Tuset Gustad, an intensive care nurse at Levanger Hospital in Norway said people with mild symptoms had a 5 percent increased risk of developing heart failure, but those with moderate to severe depression symptoms had a 40 percent increased risk.

The National Institute of Mental Health in Washington defines minor depression as having symptoms for two weeks or longer that do not meet full criteria for major depression.

The NIMH said signs and symptoms of depression include:

-- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings.
-- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
-- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.
-- Irritability, restlessness.
-- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex.
-- Fatigue and decreased energy.
-- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions.
-- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping.
-- Overeating, or appetite loss.
-- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts.
-- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease.

The study involved 63,000 in one county in Norway. Information collected included body mass index, physical activity, smoking and blood pressure. Depression was assessed and ranked for severity using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

“Depressive symptoms increase the chance of developing heart failure and the more severe the symptoms are, the greater the risk," Gustad said in a statement. "Depressed people have less healthy lifestyles, so our analysis adjusted for factors such as obesity and smoking that could cause both depression and heart failure. This means we can be confident that these factors did not cause the association.”

The findings are scheduled to be presented at the EuroHeartCare, the official annual meeting of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions of the European Society of Cardiology, held in Stavanger, Norway.

[European Society of Cardiology]

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