Study Says Severe Stress, Depression May Increase Risk Of Early Death

A "perfect storm."

This is how a new study describes the combination of depression and stress. The widely circulated research reveals that this particular mixing can make a heart attack or early death more likely.

For the study, lead researcher Carmela Alcántara of the Columbia University Medical Center and her colleagues collected data on nearly 4,500 adults with coronary heart disease who were participants in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study.

Alcántara and colleagues found that adults who concurrently suffered both depressive symptoms and perceived stress had a 48% increase in short-term (2.5 years) risk for myocardial infarction (science-speak for a heart attack) or death relative to individuals with "low stress and low depressive symptoms." The study also indicates that previous reports may have misattributed the cause of heart-disease related death to either stress or depression independently—when, in fact, the interaction between stress and depression was the real culprit.

So what to do? According to Alcántara, behavioral interventions may help people with heart disease manage both their stress and their depression. Find more info here.


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