A recent study has shown people under antidepressant therapy have a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes. The research was conducted by the Intermountain Heart Institute in Salt Lake City.
The team went over medical reports belonging to more than 5,300 people living in Utah diagnosed with various stages of depression over a three year time span. Findings showed that patients who were given antidepressant treatments had a 50% smaller risk of dying from strokes or developing various coronary diseases compared to those who weren’t taking this type of medication.
Researchers mentioned that the study included mainly patients diagnosed with more advanced stages of depression. In the case of people suffering from milder forms of depression and treated with antidepressants, the risk for developing strokes or cardiovascular disease was similar to those who hadn’t taken any type of medication.
The team also analyzed the effect of statins. These drugs are used to bring down cholesterol levels and to avoid the development of cardiovascular disease. The study showed that statins, either used as such or in combination with antidepressants, had minimal influence over coronary disease rates.
The study couldn’t find a direct link between antidepressant therapy and a lower risk for developing various diseases but scientists consider that mental health does influence the rate of cardiovascular disease.
One of the scientists who worked on the study, Dr. Heidi May, who is also an epidemiologist and cardiovascular specialist at the Salt Lake institute explained the connection:
“For example, people who are having depressive symptoms may not be as inclined to exercise, practice good health habits, or comply with health advice. Using an antidepressant to reduce depressive symptoms might also help people better take care of their heart health.”
The complete study will be presented at this year’s American College of Cardiology congress which will take place in San Diego.
According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) at least 10 percent people living in the U.S. suffer from depression. Approximately 3% of adults express symptoms characteristic of major depressive disorder which is the most serious form of depression. Findings of a JAMA Psychiatry study showed thata the mortality rate among people suffering from mental health illnesses is double the rate determined in other individuals.
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