Depression may increase risk of peripheral artery disease

American Heart Association scientific meeting news tip

Depression may be associated with an increased risk of arterial narrowing in the legs and pelvis, a condition known as peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2012 Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

While experts know that depression is a risk factor for constricted heart arteries, its effect on PAD is uncertain. Researchers used data from 1,024 men and women in the Heart and Soul Study and followed them for about seven years.

At the study's start, 12 percent of participants with depression had PAD, compared to seven percent of patients without depression who had PAD. Similarly, nine percent of depressed patients and six percent of those without depression had PAD-related events during the seven-year follow-up.

These findings demonstrate the importance of depression screening and treatment for PAD patients, according to the researchers.

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