home  Home
What is depression
Depression Q&A's
Help in your area
What's on in your area
Family and Friends
Your contributions
Your stories
In the news
About Us
  contact us
Research Exercise
Lack Of Exercise, Depression Could Be Cause Most Fatal Healrt Attack Deaths
This article is taken from The Detroit News Marilyn Elias Gannett News Service.
Monday March 12th 2001

MONTEREY, Calif. -- The well-known link between depression and fatal heart attacks may be mostly a result of lack of exercise by seriously depressed adults, scientists report today.

The hearts of depressed patients beat at a less variable rate than the hearts of the nondepressed, and this lower variability puts people at greater risk of dying.

New findings suggest "a significant part of low heart rate variability in depressed people can be attributed to lack of exercise," says Lana Watkins of Duke University Medical Center, who is presenting her findings at the American Psychosomatic Society meeting here.

In her studies with 350 heart disease patients, the higher their depression scores, the lower their heart rate variability. Also:

* Among the clinically depressed, 1 out of 4 rated themselves as extremely inactive, compared with one in 14 patients who weren't depressed.

* Depressed people averaged about half as much time per day as the nondepressed in moderate activity, such as fast walking.

* The more active a person was, the higher his heart rate variability.

In fact, after taking into account lower physical activity of depressed patients, being depressed was no longer linked to low heart rate variability. So that points to exercise as a key player here.

In another report at APS, depressed heart attack patients were about twice as likely as the nondepressed to fall in the range of heart rate variability that's predictive of death, says Robert Carney of Washington University Medical School in St. Louis.

The study of 800 patients is the largest ever done on depression and heart rate variability.

Another recent study by a team at Montreal Heart Institute found that depression raises the odds of dying from a second heart attack, but mostly in those who walk less than a block a day.

"It's kind of a chicken-or-egg thing," Carney says. "Do you become depressed because you don't exercise, or do you not exercise because you're depressed? The arrow probably goes in both directions.

"Either way, the smartest thing people with heart disease can do is to get aerobic exercise and seek treatment if they're depressed."

Our thanks to Les Posen for sending this in

Your feedback and input will be greatly appreciated.

If you have a service or product that may be of assistance to people with depression or a related condition, or their support people, please contact us for details on how to be listed or contribute to this site.

Contact us | Site map | Privacy | Disclaimer
Copyright  2004 depressioNet