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  Feeling blue ups heart disease risk in men, women

NEW YORK, May 08 (Reuters Health) - Men and women who are depressed appear to have a greater risk of developing heart disease, and men with depression have a higher risk of dying from the disease, researchers report.

"This study is the first to demonstrate that depression affects coronary heart disease risk in women," according to Amy Ferketich and colleagues from the Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health in Columbus.

Past research has shown that depressed men are at increased risk from heart disease, but little was known about the association between depression and heart disease risk in women.

Ferketich's team looked at 5,007 women and 2,886 men who were free of heart disease when they were interviewed between 1982 and 1984, according to the report published in the May 8th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Depressed men and women were 1.7 times more likely than their nondepressed counterparts to develop heart disease, the researchers report.

Although depression did not affect the women's risk dying from heart disease or other causes, depressed men were 2.7 times as likely to die from heart disease. The men who were depressed were also 1.7 times as likely to die from any cause during the study compared with nondepressed men, the report indicates.

"We have shown that the effect of depression on coronary heart disease risk differs in men and women," Ferketich and colleagues write. "More severe levels of depression were related to nonfatal coronary heart disease events in women, but there was no relationship to fatal coronary heart disease. Among men, depression was related to both nonfatal and fatal coronary heart disease."

More research is needed to determine exactly why depressed people are at greater risk of developing heart disease, the authors conclude.

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine 2000;160:1261-1268.


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