The study was carried on nearly 63,000 Norwegians who were followed up for over 11 years.
    
"We found a dose response relationship between depressive symptoms and the risk of developing heart failure. That means that the more depressed you feel, the more you are at risk," Lise Tuset Gustad, first author of the study and an intensive care nurse at Levanger Hospital in Norway, said.
    
"People who have lost interest in things they used to enjoy, such as reading or watching a television series, may have the early signs of depression. It's a good idea to see your doctor in these early stages for some advice on how to reduce your depression levels," she added.
    
This is one of the first large, prospective studies to investigate whether depression increases the risk of developing heart failure.
    
Depression was assessed and ranked for severity using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
    
During the study period nearly 1,500 people developed heart failure.
    
Compared to residents with no symptoms of depression, people with mild symptoms had a 5 per cent increased risk of developing heart failure and those with moderate to severe symptoms had a 40 per cent increased risk.
    
"Depressive symptoms increase the chance of developing heart failure and the more severe the symptoms are, the greater the risk," Gustad said.
    
"Depression triggers stress hormones. If you're stressed you feel your pulse going up and your breath speeding up, which is the result of hormones being released. Those stress hormones also induce inflammation and atherosclerosis, which may accelerate heart diseases.
    
"Another mechanism could also be because depressed people find it more difficult to follow advice about how to take medications and improve their lifestyle," Gustad said.
    
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions (CCNAP) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in Norway.

(Agencies)

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