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Cardiovascular Health Affects Depression Risk

November 12, 2019

Poor cardiovascular health tripled the risk of developing depression in a group of otherwise healthy adults over 4 years of follow-up, according to a study published online in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 

“Ameliorating cardiovascular health might decrease depression risk development,” researchers wrote. 

Results stem from an analysis of 9214 adults in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health. At baseline, participants had no depression or other mental disorders and had no cardiovascular diseases. Researchers assessed participants’ smoking habits, dietary habits, body mass index, blood pressure, fasting glucose, cholesterol, and physical activity. Next, they categorized their cardiovascular health as poor, intermediate, and optimal based on the American Heart association’s ideal cardiovascular health metric. 

After 3.8 years of follow-up, the incidence of depression among all participants was 1.5%. An intermediate or poor cardiovascular health score at baseline significantly increased depression risk, according to the study. The risk rate of developing depression with intermediate cardiovascular health was 2.48. With poor cardiovascular health, the risk rate of developing depression was 3.  

Meanwhile, higher cardiovascular health scores reduced the risk of developing depression, researchers reported. 

Jolynn Tumolo


Brunoni AR, Szlejf C, Suemoto C, et al. Association between ideal cardiovascular health and depression incidence: a longitudinal analysis of ELSA-Brasil [published online October 6, 2019]. Acta Psychiatr Scand. doi: 10.1111/acps.13109

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