A new study reveals a link between elevated cardiovascular risk and depression symptoms

A new study has discovered a link between depression and cardiovascular risk factors. The study’s critical findings were published in the open-access journal ‘PLOS ONE’ by Sandra Martin-Pelaez of the University of Granada in Spain and his colleagues.

Cardiovascular disease and depression are considered to be closely related by scientists due to their shared dangerous symptoms, such as inflammation and oxidative stress. While it has been established that depression may be a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease, studies examining the effect of cardiovascular health on the development of depression are few and far between.

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The new study analysed data from a six-year multi-center randomised trial in Spain that examined the effect of a Mediterranean diet on overweight or obese men and women aged 55 to 75. According to ANI, the current analysis included over 6,000 individuals who did not have cardiovascular or endocrine disease at baseline.

A cardiovascular risk score was calculated for each participant using the Framingham-based REGICOR function, categorising them as having a low (LR), a medium (MR), or a high/very high (HR) cardiovascular risk. Meanwhile, depressive status was determined at baseline and after two years of follow-up examinations using a questionnaire.

cardiovascular risk
cardiovascular risk

The study’s findings indicated that women in the HR group had a higher risk of depression than women in the LR group (OR 1.78, 95 percent CI 1.26-2.50) at baseline. Additionally, among all participants with a baseline total cholesterol level of less than 160 mg/mL, MR and HR participants had a higher risk of depression than LR participants (MR: OR 1.77 95 percent CI 1.13-2.77; HR: OR 2.83 95 percent CI 1.25-6.42).

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Meanwhile, individuals with a total cholesterol level of 280 mg/mL or greater were at a lower risk of depression than those with a total cholesterol level of 280 mg/mL or greater (MR: OR 0.26 95 percent CI 0.07-0.98; HR: OR 0.23 95 percent CI 0.05-0.95).

Additionally, the researchers claimed that after two years, patients’ depressive status scores decreased on average, with the greatest decreases observed in MR and HR participants with high baseline cholesterol levels.

According to the researchers, depressive symptoms are associated with “high” and “very high” cardiovascular risks, particularly in women. Additionally, they stated that additional research on the role of other factors, such as adherence to the Mediterranean diet, is necessary. “High cardiovascular risk, particularly in women, is associated with depressive symptoms in the elderly,” the authors concluded.

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