Study: Depression increases with vascular disease symptoms

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Elderly people with atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries have an increased risk of developing symptoms of depression, according to a recently released study.

Participants in an ongoing study were found to have a 50% to 90% increased risk of depression if they experienced any risk factors for vascular disease, including hardening of the arteries, according to researcher Dr. Benjamin Mast, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Louisville (KY).

The research suggests the need for closer monitoring of patients with symptoms of vascular disease who are otherwise well-functioning and not depressed, said Dr. Mast while presenting his findings during an Orlando meeting of the American Geriatric Society.

More than 2,000 participants ages 70 to 79 underwent physicals to evaluate them for atherosclerosis, diabetes and other diseases. Researchers found upon a three-year follow-up that the risk of depression was 91% higher with elderly with diabetes and 81% higher in patients with blockages in the leg arteries than in elderly participants without symptoms of these conditions.