Depression among young adults can have an unwanted spinoff -- it could elevate their chances of dying from heart disease.
Depression or a history of suicide attempts in people younger than 40, especially women, markedly increases their risk for dying from heart disease, results from a nationwide study have revealed.
"This is the first study looking at depression as a risk factor for heart disease specifically in young people," says senior study author Viola Vaccarino, who heads epidemiology at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health.
"We're finding that depression is a remarkable risk factor for heart disease in young people," said Vaccarino, the journal Archives of General Psychiatry reports.
"Among women, depression appears to be more important than traditional risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, obesity and diabetes which are not common in young women," said Vaccarino, according to an Emory statement.
Researchers analysed data from 7,641 people aged between 17 and 39 years who participated in the NHANES-III (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey-III), between 1988 and 1994. Deaths were tracked through 2006.
Women with depression or a history of attempted suicide had a three times higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 14 times higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease (heart attack).
The corresponding figures for men were 2.4 times higher risk for cardiovascular disease and 3.5 times higher risk for ischemic heart disease.