Middle-aged and older adults with persistent depressive symptoms or symptoms that are in remission face a heightened cardiovascular risk. In addition, new symptoms predict elevated mortality risk, a new study has found.

Study subjects included more than 6,800 adults from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study who had no history of cardiovascular disease. There were two waves of depression assessments, from 2011–2012 and from 2013–2014.

Adults with persistent depressive symptoms had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (a risk ratio of 1.77) and mortality (1.63) compared with participants who had no depressive symptoms during the study period. While new depressive symptoms increased the risk of all-cause mortality (the risk ratio was 2.37), they did not significantly raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, the researchers reported.

Meanwhile, symptoms that had lessened in severity were associated with a 35% excess risk of cardiovascular disease and a 13% excess risk of mortality.

The study was published in The Journals of Gerontology.