Depression is a mental disorder that not only affects one’s mental health but physical health as well. Though it is commonly known that the condition makes one feel low, sad and emotionally weak, a lesser known fact is that the condition can also trigger physical illnesses.
Supporting this claim is a recent German study that has been published in the journal Atherosclerosis. The researchers have found that depression can damage one’s heart just as high cholesterol levels and obesity can.
Study finds link between mental and physical health
The study was conducted on 3,428 men aged between 45 and 74 years over a period of 10 years. The aim was to study various causes such as depression, high cholesterol levels, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes that could trigger heart disease . The researchers found that an individual’s mental health is as important as his/her physical health for the well-being of his/her heart.
Some of the other major findings were:
- Depression was found to be the cause in around 15 percent of all cardiovascular deaths. This placed depression squarely in the middle of the list that included other risk factors that were at par with high cholesterol.
- Obesity and diabetes each were found to cause less than 10 percent cardiovascular deaths.
- Smoking was found to be a cause of approximately 17 percent deaths whereas high blood pressure was reported as the biggest danger at 30 percent.
Therefore, though the study pointed to a possible link between depression and cardiovascular disease, it did not prove that it was a direct cause. However, the lead author of the study, Karl-Heinz Ladwig, reiterated that there is still little doubt that depression is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
AHA on depression and heart disease
The American Heart Association (AHA) states that individuals who are depressed are likely to make bad health choices in terms of nutrition and exercise. But, it is also true that a number of physiological factors can prove to be risky for the heart. The association also suggests that depression can lead to high levels of cortisol, the stress-related hormone, in the human body, which, in turn, can have a negative effect on one’s cardiovascular as well as immune system.
The researchers said that the focus of the study was to find a link between multiple risk factors to the heart and the actual risk. They also said that an individual should immediately consult a health care professional to know preventive strategies that can ensure good health in the long run, in case he/she identifies the presence of any risk factor.
Treatment can help
It is important to know that just like depression can lead to a heart disease, an individual with serious heart disease can also develop depression. Therefore, it is important to not only avoid the risk factors of depression but also heart disease.
As part of the Men’s Health Month, which is observed in the month of June and aims to spread awareness about the preventable health problems among men and boys, let’s encourage the men to be aware of the various ailments that could beset them and go for an early detection and treatment, if any illness afflicts them.
Appropriate and timely treatment can help one recover and lead a healthy life.
If there’s someone you know who is dealing with depression, anxiety or any other form of mental illness, Sovereign Health can help you access some of the best depression treatment programs in Los Angeles. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with one of our experts who can assist you get complete information about depression treatment centers in California and other parts of the U.S.