The findings added to a growing body of evidence connecting CVD with depression among young and middle-aged adults, and suggest the relationship between the two could begin in early adulthood.
The study, published Jan. 23 in the Journal of the American Heart Asssociation, also found that young adults who self-reported feeling depressed or having poor mental health days had higher rates of heart attacks, strokes and risk factors for heart disease compared with their peers without mental health issues.
When you’re stressed, anxious or depressed, you may feel overwhelmed, and your heart rate and blood pressure rises, said Garima Sharma, associate professor of medicine at the center and lead author of the study.
When you’re stressed, anxious or depressed, you may feel overwhelmed, and your heart rate and blood pressure rises. It’s also common that feeling down could lead to making poor lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking alcohol, sleeping less and not being physically active -; all adverse conditions that negativity impact your heart,” said Garima Sharma, M.B.B.S., associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine and senior author of the study. “The relationship between depression and heart disease is a two-way street. Depression increases your risk of heart issues, and those with heart disease experience depression,” says Yaa Adoma Kwapong, M.D., M.P.H., a postdoctoral research fellow at Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and lead author of the study.
“Our study suggests that we need to prioritize mental health among young adults and perhaps increase screening and monitoring for heart disease in people with mental health conditions and vice versa to improve overall heart health.”
Kwapong says this new study only provides a snapshot of cardiovascular health among young people with depression, and that new studies need to look at how depression affects cardiovascular health over time.