A new study conducted by researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia shows that major depressive disorder is associated with increased risk for heart disease that starts in young adults. In a survey that included more than 7,000 participants under the age of 40 years, investigators found that young people with a history of depression or attempted suicide had a significantly higher risk of ischemic (IHD) and cardiovascular heart disease (CVD) than those without.
Previous studies looked at the relationship between depression and cardiovascular risks for middle-aged or older adults while ignoring the younger demographic, who were not considered to be at risk. This study is novel in that it focuses on the younger age group.
Researchers looked at data on 7,641 adults ranging in age from 17 to 39 years from the 1988–1994 Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They also linked information to the National Death Index.
After a median follow up of almost 15 years, researchers found that the adjusted hazard ratio for risks related to both cardiovascular and ischemic heart disease were higher for young people who had experienced unipolar and bipolar depression as well as those who had attempted suicide.
Findings also indicated a difference based on gender, with women apparently having a higher risk, however those results were not conclusive due to small event numbers.