Depression and Exhaustion as a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease

Posted on:January 28, 2018
Last Updated: October 10, 2020
Time to read: 4 minutes

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of premature death and is traditionally linked to five disease risk factors: 1) Obesity, 2) Diabetes, 3) High cholesterol, 4) high blood pressure and 5) smoking

However, the strength of mortality risk prediction is not as effective as it could be with researchers attempting to identify additional non-classical risk factors.

In a previous article, we covered the strong bi-directional relationship between depression and cardiovascular disease and how stress is associated with increased bone marrow activity which inturn increases the risk of CVD via arterial inflammation. (see diagram)

Stress activates the immune response via sympathetic pathways. The myeloid cells from the brain marrow (haemopoietic activity) act as primary inflammation drivers causing damage to the endothelium increasing the risk of CVD.

Clinical assessments show that reduced quality of life, psychosocial issues, anxiety and non-adherence to medication are common outcomes in depressed patients with CVD.

Previous research by Ladwig and colleagues has shown that in the general population depression is a common outcome after myocardial infarction. [1]

Furthermore, depression after a CVD event is a leading contributor to incomplete recovery 6 months after acute myocardial infarction.

Following on from this, a newly published study by the same researchers investigated the impact of a depressed mood and exhaustion (DEEX) on recovery over a 10-year period. [2]