Stress, depression double heart attack risk

December 5th, 2011 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Dec 5 (IANS) Those who suffer from depression or stress are twice as likely to have a heart attack than those with an even outlook.

A study led by Concordia University has found that the depressed also recover more slowly after exercise than those who are non-depressed.

These findings point to the importance of testing for cardiovascular disease among people suffering from major depression, the journal Psychophysiology reports.

“There have been two competing theories as to why depression is linked to cardiovascular disease,” says study co-author Jennifer Gordon, doctoral candidate at McGill University.

“Depressed people may have poorer health behaviours, which may in turn lead to heart problems. The other possibility is physiological: a problem with the stress system known as the fight or flight response,” said Gordon, according to a Concordia statement.

“Our study was the first to examine the role of a dysfunctional fight or flight response in depression in a large population,” Gordon added.

Some 886 participants, with average age 60, took part in the study conducted by Concordia with the Montreal Heart Institute, McGill University, the Hôpital Sacre-Coeur de Montreal, the Universite du Quebec à Montreal and the University of Calgary.

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