Symptoms of depression are not uncommon after a heart attack. Scientists at the University of Ulm have now shown that this mixture drastically increases the risk of later developing type 2 diabetes. This could be due to inflammatory processes in the body.
A heart attack is a crucial event in life. It is not uncommon for depression to set in afterwards. Obviously, it does not stop there. A study by the University of Ulm now shows that heart attack patients with depressive symptoms have an increased risk of later developing type 2 diabetes. For the investigation, the team led by Dr. Raphael Peter from the Institute for Epidemiology and Medical Biometrics from the KAROLA study, in which patients are followed up for up to 15 years after a heart attack. In total, data from around 1,000 patients were analyzed.
Depression is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes
The result: Patients who developed depression during the observation period had a two-and-a-half-fold risk of developing diabetes mellitus compared to those without depressive symptoms. “We now know very well that depressive symptoms pose a risk for coronary heart disease. What is new is that the mental illness in these patients is also a risk factor for diabetes, ”concludes the first author of the study, Dr. Raphael Peter.
Further heart attacks possible
The analysis also showed that the mixture of heart attack and depression also increases the risk of recurring cardiovascular complications. A second heart attack, a stroke and even premature death were 6.5 times more common among those affected. Since this is an observational study, the causes have not been clarified. However, scientists have one suspicion: chronic inflammatory processes in the body. “Such inflammatory processes play an important role both in diabetes mellitus and in depressive illnesses and could also explain this connection between diabetes and depression,” explains Institute Director Professor Dietrich Rothenbacher.
Comprehensive aftercare is important
The study shows how important it is to take into account the mental state of heart attack patients in the follow-up care and to treat depression as well. Above all, regular, increased physical activity is important to eliminate the symptoms of depression and to improve the disease. “And ultimately that is also good for the heart and blood vessels.”
Die Studie “Prognostic value of long-term trajectories of depression for incident diabetes mellitus in patients with stable coronary heart disease” ist kürzlich im Fachmagazin. Cardiovascular Diabetology published.
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