Older women who have depression or take antidepressants may be at increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a new study finds.
Researchers looked at about eight years of data from a few thousand postmenopausal women in the United States. Those who had depression or were using antidepressants were more likely to have a higher body-mass index (BMI), a measurement of body fat based on height and weight; larger waist size and signs of inflammation than those who did not have depression and were not taking antidepressants.
These measurements are all associated with increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, noted the authors of the study in the June 13 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
“It may be prudent to monitor postmenopausal women who have elevated depression symptoms or are taking antidepressant medication to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” study leader Dr. Yunsheng Ma, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said in a school news release.
This makes sense “given that diabetes and cardiovascular disease can be effectively prevented or delayed in high-risk individuals with lifestyle modifications or pharmacological interventions,” study co-author Dr. Simin Liu, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at Brown University, said in the release.
While the study found an association between depression or antidepressant use and certain risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, it did not establish a cause-and-effect link.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about heart disease in women.