Ms Lise Tuset Gustad, first author of the study and an intensive care nurse at Levanger Hospital in Norway, said that they found a dose response relationship between depressive symptoms and the risk of developing heart failure. That means that the more depressed you feel, the more you are at risk.
Data were collected during the second wave of a large epidemiological study in Nord-Trondelag county, Norway, called the Nord-Trondelag Health Study (HUNT study). Nearly 63 000 of the 97 000 citizens in the county agreed to take part.
When the second wave of the HUNT study began in 1995, information was collected including body mass index, physical activity, smoking habits and blood pressure. Depression was assessed and ranked for severity using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
Every Norwegian citizen receives a unique 11 digit number at birth which is used at hospitals and the National Cause of Death Registry.
The researchers used this number to track which patients were hospitalised with heart failure or died from heart failure during the 11 year study.
During the study period nearly 1 500 people developed heart failure. Compared to residents with no symptoms of depression, people with mild symptoms had a 5 per cent increased risk of developing heart failure and those with moderate to severe symptoms had a 40 per cent increased risk.
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