WASHINGTON — Exercise may reduce the risk of developing heart disease in people with depression, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Depression has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other physical ailments, and depression is commonly associated with worse outcomes for patients with heart disease and other conditions, said the study.

In addition, as many as 20 percent of people hospitalized with a heart attack report symptoms of depression, while patients with heart disease have three times the risk of developing depression compared to the general population.

Researchers from the US Emory University Hospital set out to learn more about the relationship between depressive symptoms and heart disease.

They studied 965 people who were free of heart disease and who had no prior diagnosis of an affective, psychotic or anxiety disorder.

They found arterial stiffening and inflammation — the early heart disease indicators — that accompany worsening depressive symptoms were more pronounced in people who were inactive, but the indicators were less common in subjects engaging in regular physical activity.

“Our findings highlight the link between worsening depression and cardiovascular risk and support routinely assessing depression in patients to determine heart disease risk. This research also demonstrates the positive effects of exercise for all patients, including those with depressive symptoms,” said study author Arshed Quyyumi, M.D., co-director of the Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute.

“There are many patients with heart disease who also experience depression — we need to study whether encouraging them to exercise will reduce their risk of adverse outcomes.” PNA/Xinhua / northboundasia.com