Depression can make women more prone to weight gain later in life, putting them at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes, new research shows.
The study, by University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers, found postmenopausal women with depressive symptoms and who use antidepressants are more likely to have a higher body mass index, larger waist size, and inflammation — all associated with increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The findings, published in the June 13 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, suggest doctors and clinics should pay more attention to women's psychological 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," said lead researcher Yunsheng Ma, M.D., an associate professor of medicine, whose findings are based on an analysis of medical records from the long-running Women's Health Initiative (WHI).
For the study, researchers tracked the medical charts of about 2,000 postmenopausal women between 1993 and 2005.
The results showed depressive symptoms were significantly associated with increased insulin levels and measures of insulin resistance, as well as higher average BMI, compared to nearly 72,000 other women who did women not use antidepressants or have depressive symptoms.
Additional analyzes showed women with depression had higher levels of known biomarkers of inflammation.
"Identifying these markers in women is important for diabetes prevention because they can be monitored for possible action before progression to full-blown diabetes," said Dr. Ma.
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