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Being Sad Can Kill You

Depression can cause much more than a general feeling of malaise, say researchers. It can lead a person to his first heart attack or to even, a stroke. //

What stood out most from this work of the researchers led by Dr. Carmine Pariante of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London was the finding that depression was akin to smoking, in that it increased the risks of heart disease by up to five times. And to be noted ,was that this included even depression of a lesser intensity.

Speaking at a conference on depression conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry, Pariante said that hormones and the immune system constituted the main link between depression and heart disease.

In a person subject to depression, they brought about inflammation, which led to atherosclerosis or the narrowing and hardening of arteries by the formation of scaly deposits, reported the researchers.

Cautioned Pariante: “The longer you've been depressed and the more episodes you have and more severe they are, the worse are the biological impacts."

Another such disastrous effect of depression is the birth of preterm infants, which is known to compromise their health and sometimes-even their existence.

Led by Veronica O'Keane of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, researchers conducted the first clinical study into depression found in pregnant women.

According to them, depression in pregnant women, or antenatal depression is a ‘largely hidden problem’.

O’Keane studied two groups of women, one severely depressed and the other healthy, and followed them throughout their period of pregnancy.

Levels of stress hormones were measured using blood and saliva tests and their moods were assessed using psychiatric tests.

It was seen that there were significantly higher levels of the stress hormone Corticotropin –releasing hormone (CRH) in the depressed women.

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