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Study: Depression Increases Heart Failure Risk by 40%

Findings presented at European cardiology meeting

Moderate-to-severe depression increases the risk of heart failure by 40%, according to a study involving nearly 63,000 Norwegians. The new findings were presented April 4 at EuroHeartCare 2014, the official annual meeting of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions (CCNAP) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

The prospective study was one of the first to investigate whether depression increases the risk of developing heart failure. Data were collected during the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, a large epidemiologic investigation conducted in Nord-Trøndelag County, Norway.

Starting in 1995, information was collected on body mass index, physical activity, smoking habits, blood pressure, and other characteristics. Depression was ranked for severity using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. The researchers tracked which patients were hospitalized with heart failure or died from heart failure during the 11-year follow-up.

During the study period, nearly 1,500 people developed heart failure. The investigators found that, compared with residents with no symptoms of depression, people with mild symptoms had a 5% increased risk of developing heart failure, and those with moderate-to-severe symptoms had a 40% increased risk.

“Depressive symptoms increase the chance of developing heart failure, and the more severe the symptoms are, the greater the risk,” said Lise Tuset Gustad, the study’s lead author and an intensive care nurse. “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.”

Source: ESC; April 4, 2014.

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