Depression among seniors increases their risk of heart disease, according to the latest findings. The researchers looked at over 7,300 seniors in France with no prior history of heart disease, stroke, or dementia. Assessments were conducted on the participants every two, four, and seven years after the study start date.
Initially, 30 percent of women and 15 percent of men had high depression symptoms. At the follow-up period, recovery of depression symptoms occurred in 40 percent of the participants, while an additional 40 percent developed depression symptoms.
During the assessment periods, less than 10 percent of participants were taking antidepressants.
Participants with depression symptoms were found to have a higher risk of heart disease or stroke over the course of 10 years. The longer a participant had depression, the higher their risk rose for heart disease or stroke. For example, if a participant had depression during one assessment period, their risk for heart disease and stroke was 15 percent. If they had depression during all four assessments, their risk was 75 percent.
The researchers suggest that close heart monitoring should be conducted in older adults with depression in order to reduce risk of heart disease and stroke.