Depression linked to higher heart disease risks in young adults

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In a study from Johns Hopkins Medicine, scientists found young adults who feel down or depressed are more likely to develop heart disease and have poor heart health.

The findings add to a growing body of evidence connecting CVD with depression among young and middle-aged adults and suggest the link between the two could begin in early adulthood.

The study also found that young adults who self-reported feeling depressed or having poor mental health days had higher rates of heart attacks, strokes and risk factors for heart disease compared with their peers without mental health issues.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of U.S. adults who experienced depression or anxiety jumped from 36.4% to 41.5% during the first year of the pandemic, with the highest spike among people ages 18 to 29.

In the study, the team looked at data from 593,616 adults who participated in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a self-reported, nationally representative survey conducted between 2017 and 2020.

The survey included questions about whether they have ever been told they have a depressive disorder, how many days they experienced poor mental health in the past month (0 days, 1–13 days or 14–30 days), whether they had experienced a heart attack, stroke or chest pain, and if they had cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The team found 1 in five adults self-reported having depression or frequently feeling low.

Those who self-reported several days of feeling down had a stronger link to heart disease and poor heart health.

The team says the link between depression and heart disease is a two-way street. Depression increases your risk of heart issues and those with heart disease experience depression.

The study suggests that doctors need to prioritize mental health among young adults and perhaps increase screening and monitoring for heart disease in people with mental health conditions and vice versa to improve overall heart health.

If you care about depression, please read studies that vegetarian diet may increase your depression risk, and Vitamin D could help reduce depression symptoms.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that ultra-processed foods may make you feel depressed, and these antioxidants could help reduce the risk of dementia.

The study was conducted by Garima Sharma et al and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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