Depression and Health

Mental anguish is hard on your health. People suffering from depression have three times the risk of experiencing a cardiac event. In fact, depression affects the entire body. It attacks the immune system, resulting in long term effects. Higher rates of diabetes and osteoporosis are found in people suffering from depression, for example.

Depression is a whole-body disorder. There’s accumulating evidence that the illness has deleterious effects on the heart, the brain, the bones and metabolism. Now comes proof that it undermines the immune system as people age.

Ohio State University researchers have found an exaggerated inflammatory response to an immune challenge among 47 people feeling stressed and suffering subclinical depression. Following a single flu shot, their bodies overproduced the immune system component interleukin-6, a marker of long-term inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is linked to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes and periodontal disease among others.

The study subjects, all caregivers to spouses with Alzheimer’s disease, had modest levels of depression?they felt blue and had sleep problems?but did not have the full-blown disorder.

“A person’s mental health really does matter,” says psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D., a coauthor of the study. “The body responds differently?even to everyday challenges?depending on whether a person is depressed or not. This study shows there are long-term changes taking place in your immune system.”

Lifestyle, cigarettes and fatty foods are the usual suspects in heart disease. Many decades of research have shown how bad choices in life can ravage the heart.

But the emotional picture of a healthy heart appears more complicated, according to research. Beyond the connection between the hostile type-A personality and heart attacks, or depression and heart disease, scientists have found intriguing links between a variety of psychological factors and heart disease.

Does status matter? Workers who are low on the totem pole in white-collar professions seem to have a higher risk for developing diabetes and heart disease, according to a study by University College London researchers. Psychological factors such as job strain and low social support were found to be significant risks for cardiovascular disease, even after controlling for family history, weight, physical activity and blood pressure.

A study in Psychosomatic Medicine has found that people who are physically healthy but prone to anger, hostility and mild depression have higher levels of C-reactive protein, a substance linked to increased risk of heart disease. The study is the first to tie a particular combination of negative emotions with cardiovascular health in people who don’t have traditional lifestyle risk factors.


Understand all about Depression. Read more…

  1. What is Depression?
  2. Symptoms of Depression
  3. Causes of Depression
  4. Treatment of Depression
  5. Depression and Health
  6. Varieties of Depression
  7. Depression and Society
  8. Online Psychotherapy

Find out about Varieties of Depression. Seasonal depression affects people only in the winter months, while dysthymia is mild depression. Suicidal thoughts often coincide with depressive episodes, which is why it’s important to be aware of the signs if you or a loved one experiences chronic mood disturbances. Find out more…