term "broken-hearted" may be as literal as it sounds. Subclinical
depression (characterized by persistent negativity, irritability,
easy anger, and a general dissatisfaction with life), often
goes undiagnosed and/or untreated, posing an increased risk
for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Recently, A Women's Health Initiative (WHI) observational
study followed 93,676 older or postmenopausal female subjects
for an average of 4.1 years to gauge depression.
Approximately 16 percent of the subjects showed depressive
symptoms; those individuals had a 50 percent greater risk
for heart disease (or death from it) compared to women without
depressive symptoms. For depressed women, the risk of death
from any cause was shown to be 30 percent higher than nondepressed
women. Does that mean that heart disease and depression are
Lead author of the study, Dr. Sylvia Wasserthiel-Smoller,
speculated, "It could be that people really have some kind
of subclinical disease [and] maybe the first place it manifests
itself is in the depressed mood," suggesting that a depressed
mood itself may influence other variables that lead to disease.
Regardless, neither heart health nor depression should be
taken lightly. For more information, visit the American Heart
Association at www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3017091
and the American Psychological Association at www.apa.org/ppo/issues/pwomenanddepress.html.
Wassertheil-Smoller S, Shumaker S, Ockene J, Talavera GA,
Greenland P, Cochrane B, Robbins J, Aragaki A, Dunbar-Jacob
J. Depression and cardiovascular sequelae in postmenopausal
women. Arch Intern Med 2004:164, pp289-298.
For more information about women's health issues, go to www.chiroweb.com/find/tellmeabout/women.html.