Exercise May Lower CVD Risk in Depressed Patients

Regular exercise may reduce the cardiovascular effects of depression, according to a research letter published Jan. 11 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers led by Arshed A. Quyyumi, MD, FACC, from Emory University Hospital, studied 965 subjects who were free of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular or peripheral artery disease, and who had no prior diagnosis of an affective, psychotic or anxiety disorder. Patients were evaluated for depression and levels of physical activity through questionnaires. Researchers also measured early indicators of cardiovascular disease such as oxidative stress and vascular function.

Researchers found arterial stiffening and inflammation that accompany worsening depressive symptoms were more pronounced in people who were inactive. The indicators were less common in subjects who were engaged in regular physical activity.

“Our findings highlight the link between worsening depression and cardiovascular risk and support routinely assessing depression in patients to determine [cardiovascular] disease risk. This research also demonstrates the positive effects of exercise for all patients, including those with depressive symptoms,” said Quyyumi. “There are many patients with [cardiovascular] disease who also experience depression – we need to study whether encouraging them to exercise will reduce their risk of adverse outcomes.”

Clinical Topics: Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Prevention, Vascular Medicine, Atherosclerotic Disease (CAD/PAD), Exercise, Stress

Keywords: Anxiety Disorders, Cardiovascular Diseases, Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant, Depression, Exercise, Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, Peripheral Arterial Disease, Risk Factors

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