Seniors with high levels of depression had an increased risk for heart disease or stroke. Click To TweetFebruary is a short month filled with images of hearts in honor of Valentine’s Day but heart health should also be on the minds of older adults who may be at greater risk for heart disease, especially if they suffer from depression.
A new study of more than 7,000 French seniors over a period of 10 years found that participants who had high levels of depression had an increased risk for heart disease or stroke. The risk rose along with the duration of the depression. The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, was observational in nature and therefore no cause and effect relationship was established. The results nevertheless provides data that should encourage seniors, caregivers and doctors to closely watch for signs of depression in older adults.
Depression can be a side effect of some medications, including high blood pressure drugs. Symptoms of depression may include feeling very tired, hopeless, anxious, irritable or helpless. Seniors who stop finding pleasure in the things they once enjoyed such as family, friends or hobbies may be suffering from depression. If you notice changes in the sleeping, eating or functional living of a senior close to you, talk with their doctor.
To learn more about depression among the elderly, visit the National Institute of Mental Health website at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/older-adults-and-depression/index.shtml or speak with your health care provider.