A new study conducted in Norway sheds light on the condition of depression. It seems that depression does not only affect a person’s mood or their lack of social activity, but it can also cause heart problems. Lise Tuset Gustad is a nurse at Levanger Hospital in Norway and was the lead author of the study. Gustad confirms the results of the study, and says that people who only showed mild symptoms of depression had a 5 percent risk of heart disease, but those who showed moderate to severe depression symptoms had a 40 percent increase of the risk of heart disease.
The study was conducted from 63,00 participants in Norway. The researchers analyzed the levels of physical activity; body mass index, blood pressure, and smoking. The study also adjusted for factors such as smoking and obesity, so Gustad is confident that there is no association with the studies results and those factors. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was utilized to assess and rank the severity of depression participants felt. The participants were monitored over 11 years and this is the first study that connects depression to causing heart problems. During the 11 years of the study, 1,500 people suffered from heart failure.
Depression has a variety of serious symptoms, which can directly affect a person’s quality of life. Common symptoms people suffer from include persistent anxiety, feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness, and a pessimistic outlook on life. People with depression also feel restless, fatigued, and loose an interest in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed. There are also symptoms varying from overeating to a loss of appetite, and insomnia to excessive sleeping. If the depression symptoms are severe, a person might also struggle with thoughts of suicide.
Gustad explains that depression can be disabling for people suffering from it because it activates stress hormones in the body, which react by speeding up breathing and the pulse. Gustad goes on to describe these stress hormones as dangerous because they cause inflammation and plaque to accumulate in the arteries, which increases the risk of heart disease. Gustad also says that depressed people are usually unable to maintain a healthy lifestyle, due to the lack of motivation or the loss of interest, and this also increases their risk of heart problems. If someone is experiencing the signs of depression, Gustad recommends seeking help and being treated before the symptoms become worse.
Gustad encourages every hospital to scan their patients for signs of depression, in order to prevent heart problems later in life. Gustad clarifies that there is no direct connection between depression and heart disease and that depression is only linked to the changes the body experiences, and these changes are what creates the risks. Gustad warns that the greater the symptoms are, or the more depressed someone feels, the greater the risks are. Gustad also states that doctors should try to find out what the cause of depression is, so it can be treated and prevent more health problems from occurring.
Opinion By Sara Petersen