Childhood depression ups heart attack risk in adulthood
A new study suggests that children with depression are more likely to be obese, smoke and be inactive, which could show the effects of heart disease as early as their teen years.
The research, by University of South Florida Associate Professor of Psychology Jonathan Rottenberg and his colleagues at Washington University and the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that depression may increase the risk of heart problems later in life.
The researchers also observed higher rates of heart disease in the parents of adolescents that had been depressed as children.
"Given that the parents in this sample were relatively young, we were quite surprised to find that the parents of the affected adolescents were reporting a history of heart attacks and other serious events," Rottenberg said.
Cardiologists and mental health professionals have long known a link exists between depression and heart disease. Depressed adults are more likely to suffer a heart attack, and if they do have a heart attack, it's more likely to be fatal.
However, it was unclear when the association between clinical depression and cardiac risk develops, or how early in life the association can be detected.
These findings suggest improved prevention and treatment of childhood depression could reduce adult cardiovascular disease.
The research is published online in Psychosomatic Medicine.
(Posted on 01-02-2014)