While it’s undeniable that depression has at least a minor link to various forms of heart disease in women, this does not mean that it is a direct cause. Shockingly, an increasing number of women under the age of 65 have been experiencing heart troubles that could be caused by symptoms of depression.
Researchers conducted a 10-year study where they examined approximately 1,100 women with an average age of 55, who all had different medical and mental backgrounds. Some of the women reported that they did not have a prior family history of heart disease, so these women were considered to be at a much lower risk of developing heart troubles than the women who did have family histories of heart disease.
In the beginning, all of the women were asked to fill out a questionnaire to determine whether or not they were depressed at the onset of the study—over the course of the study, they filled out similar questionnaires to track their mental and physical progress. Over time, the study showed that the women who were not initially considered high risk candidates for heart disease could still develop heart troubles if they suffered from depression.
The researchers found that depression is neither a leading factor nor a direct cause of heart disease. However, the symptoms of depression can lead to heart troubles. Level of exercise (or lack thereof) and eating habits are contributors to heart disease, and depressed women tend to not take good care of their bodies, which can in turn cause the disease. Ultimately, the study revealed that women younger than 65 who suffered from depression were at a greater risk of developing heart troubles than women in midlife.