U.S. researchers said young women with a history of depression are twice as likely to have a metabolic syndrome that raise the risk of heart disease.
Men with a similar history do not suffer as frequently from the same symptoms, said researchers at the Veterans’ Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System.
The researchers looked at results of a national health survey conducted between 1988 and 1994, covering more than 6,000 men and women ages 17 to 39. Women were more likely than men to have experienced a prior episode of depression, and those women who had experienced at least one episode also were more likely to suffer from the metabolic syndrome.
People with the metabolic syndrome have at least three out of five factors linked to heart disease: high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol - the so-called good cholesterol, high fasting blood sugar or abdominal obesity.
The relationship held even when the researchers controlled for age, race, education, smoking, physical inactivity, carbohydrate consumption and alcohol use. Depression in men was not associated with the metabolic syndrome or its components, they said.
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.