Question: Can depression cause any long-term medical problems (such as heart disease)?
Answer: The interface of depression with other medical disorders is a very hot topic of an investigation at the current time. There is absolutely no doubt that depression results in a major increased risk for the development of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
That is depressed patients are more likely to have a heart attack, to suffer from congestive heart failure and to have a variety of other cardiac abnormalities than individuals without depression.
And there are a number of studies that have shown what the biological substrates are that mediate this risk. So that depressed patients essentially have abnormalities in the immune function, abnormalities in the platelet clotting cascade and abnormalities in the way their heart rate is regulated by the brain. All of these together conspire to increase your risk for heart attack if you're depressed.
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