How can depression affect my health?

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Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
For starters, depression is tied to an increased rate of arterial and cardiovascular aging. In a study done at Duke University, men and women who had heart disease and depression had a 69 percent higher rate of deaths from heart disease over the next nineteen years than those who simply had heart disease and no depression. In the Alameda County study, depressed individuals had a 54 percent increase in stroke rate over twenty-nine years. Other smaller studies have reported similar effects of depression to increase arterial aging events, such as impotence, memory loss, heart attacks, and strokes. Also, women suffering from depression have lower bone density, presumably from increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is found in greater quantities in the blood of depressed people. In addition to causing aging directly, the symptoms of depression -- lethargy, sluggishness, a sense that nothing in the world matters -- lead to behaviors that can accelerate aging. Depressed people are less likely to exercise, to eat a healthy diet, or to make any effort towards healthy living at all.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.