Experiencing depression during childhood can lead to heart disease in adulthood, a new study reveals.
Additionally, the study - published in Psychosomatic Medicine - found a higher incidence of risk factors for heart disease like obesity, smoking and lack of physical activity among teens, who were depressed as kids, though they had completely recovered from the mental condition.
The study looked at 210 Hungarian teens clinically diagnosed with depression, their 195 siblings without any mental problems and another group of 161 healthy children. All children were aged around nine and were enrolled in the 2004 study of the genetics of depression.
When the children turned 16, researchers collected information about smoking, obesity, physical activity levels and parental history of depression among them. Only 15 percent of the 210 children reported depression. However, a significant number of children with a history of depression were obese, compared to the other two groups. Smoking rates were also higher among the depression group.
Results showed that depression at childhood left a greater impact on the heart, placing it at increased risk of many deadly diseases later in life. To their surprise, researchers found a higher prevalence of heart diseases among parents of the depressed teens. "Given that the parents in this sample were relatively young, we were quite surprised to find that the parents of the affected adolescents were reporting a history of heart attacks and other serious events," associate Professor of Psychology Jonathan Rottenberg, said in a news release.
Nearly 350 million people around the world are affected by depression, an outcome of chemical changes in the brain caused by stress or hormonal changes.
During a major depressive episode, a person experiences severe and persistent depression and loss of interest in everyday activities, often followed by problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image. It is crucial to detect and treat the problem early as delayed treatment can result in adverse outcomes including self-destructive behaviour and suicide. Apart from that, latest research shows that depression can accelerate the ageing process by affecting normal structure of cells.
Meditation, exercise, dance classes, a healthy diet rich in folic acid are some of the research proven ways to fight this mental condition.