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Reducing Heart Attack Risk with Treatment for Depression: Study Findings


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A study found that talking about depression can help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes later in life.

Previous studies have shown that people with mental disorders are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Scientists now believe that successfully treating depression with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can not only help the brain, but also improve heart health.

In a new study, University College London researchers analyzed data from 636,955 people over the age of 45 who were treated through the Improved Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service in England between 2012 and 2020.

The free service offers cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling and physician-led self-help, with sessions offered either face-to-face or in online groups.

A questionnaire, which took into account factors such as lack of interest in the case, sleep problems and low mood, was used to measure symptoms of depression.

The researchers then compared IAPT scores (depression scores) with patients’ medical records to find new cases of cardiovascular disease.

They found that people whose depressive symptoms improved after psychotherapy were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease over an average of three years of follow-up compared to those who did not.

The study also notes that improvement after depression was associated with a 12% reduction in future cardiovascular disease at any time, with similar results seen for coronary heart disease, stroke, and death.

The association was strongest in people under the age of 60, who had a 15% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 22% lower risk of death from all causes, according to data published in the European Health Journal.

The researchers found that people over the age of 60 had a 5% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 14% lower risk of dying from all other causes.

Lead author Celine Elbao said: “This study demonstrates for the first time an association between psychotherapy outcomes and future risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings are important because they suggest that the benefits of psychotherapy may extend beyond long-term mental and physical health outcomes.” . They highlight the importance of expanding access to psychotherapy to underrepresented groups, such as ethnic minorities, who may be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Limitations of the study, which was funded by the Alzheimer’s Association, include little information about lifestyle factors.

They offer another explanation for the findings: perhaps those who responded to psychotherapy led a lifestyle that was more protective against cardiovascular disease.

Professor Nilesh Samani, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study shows that successful treatment of depression with psychotherapy is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. Although this can be observed, it provides additional evidence that health “Health of the brain and heart are interrelated, and treatment for depression may have other important benefits besides improving mental health. However, more research is needed to establish whether treatment actually improves heart and circulatory health, and if so, what How”.

Source: Daily Mail

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