The research found that effective treatment for depression can reduce a patient's heart risks to the same level as those who never had short-term depression.

"Our study shows that prompt, effective treatment of depression appears to improve the risk of poor heart health," said Heidi May from Intermountain Medical Centre Heart Institute in the US.

"With the help of past research, we know depression affects long-term cardiovascular risks, but knowing that alleviating the symptoms of depression reduces a person's risk of heart disease in the short term, too, can help care providers and patients commit more fully to treating the symptoms of depression," May said.

Researchers compiled information from 7,550 patients who completed at least two depression questionnaires over the course of one to two years.

Patients were categorised based on the results of their survey as never depressed, no longer depressed, remained depressed, or became depressed.

Following each patient's completion of the last questionnaire, patients were followed to see if they had any major cardiovascular problems such as a stroke, heart failure, heart attack or death.

At the end of the study, 4.6 percent of patients who were no longer depressed had a similar occurrence of major cardiovascular complications as those who had no depression at all (4.8 percent), researchers said.

Those who remained depressed and those who became depressed throughout the study, had increased occurrences of major cardiovascular problems — their rates were 6 and 6.4 percent, respectively, they said.

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