We’ve known that there was a link between heart disease and depression, but the exact mechanisms that linked the two conditions are unknown. The latest research findings suggest that stress-induced inflammation may be the missing link.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and depression is the leading cause of disability. Numerous studies have found that having heart disease increases the risk of depression, and having depression increases the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, patients with heart disease and depression are more likely to die than those with just heart disease.
Researchers looked at data from 370,000 people aged 40 to 69. The researchers first looked for those with a family history of heart disease to determine if having this history increased the risk of depression. The researchers found those with a family history of heart disease had a 20 percent higher risk of depression.
Then scientists looked at a possible genetic link but found no genetic predisposition between heart disease and depression.
The researchers then looked at environmental factors which could affect heart disease risk. The analysis found three biomarkers that increased the risk of heart disease and depression, which included triglycerides and the inflammation-related proteins IL-6 and CRP.
The researchers explained that our bodies produce inflammation proteins in response to physiological factors like infection and lifestyle factors. High inflammation markers are typically seen in hard-to-treat depression and acute depressive episodes.
This suggests that heart disease and depression share common underlying biological methods but do recognize that additional research is required to better understand this potential link.
With this new information to go on, it gives researchers better hope to understand the relationship between heart disease and depression.