Depressed Men Face Heart Risks


Wednesday, May 10th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


CHICAGO (AP) — New research gives depressed men something else to lament: They face an increased risk of dying from heart disease.

While previous research has shown that depression in men and women is linked to heart disease, a study published in today's Archives of Internal Medicine found that only men faced an increased risk of heart disease-related death.

The authors analyzed data from 5,007 women and 2,886 men enrolled in a 10-year national health and nutrition survey who initially did not have heart disease. About one-sixth of the women and one-tenth of the men had clinical depression at the outset.

Non-fatal heart disease symptoms occurred in 187 men and 187 women, while 137 women and 129 men died of heart disease-related causes during the study period.

While the depressed women faced a 73 percent higher heart-disease risk than non-depressed women, they were not at greater risk of dying. Among men, those with depression had a 71 percent higher heart-disease risk and were 2.34 times more likely to die of heart disease than non-depressed men.

``We have shown that the effect of depression on coronary heart disease risk differs in men and women,'' wrote the authors, led by researcher Amy Ferketich of Ohio State University. The reasons for the difference are unclear, they said.

Depression was measured only at the outset, a major limitation of the study since it's unknown if some patients developed the ailment during the study period, the authors said.

Though they didn't study how depression affected the heart, previous research has shown that stress hormones that may be activated in depression can constrict blood vessels and may lead to artery blockage.

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