Depression in Middle-Age Women May Increase Risk of Stroke, Heart Attack

Women aged 55 and younger who suffer from moderate or severe depression may be more than twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke or to die from heart disease, according to new research out of Emory University. 

The three-year study included more than 3,000 men and women who had either a confirmed diagnosis of coronary artery disease or were suspected to have it. After adjusting for risk factors including race, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and a history of heart disease or stroke, the researchers found that younger women had a higher risk for adverse cardiac events than older men and women.

This group was also more likely to die from any cause during the follow-up period.

The findings underline the need to identify and address depression and its root causes, such as early-life trauma, among younger women in particular.

The study was published online this week in the Journal of the American Heart Association.