For women younger than 65 years old, depression is emerging as a significant risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD). Researchers from Reading Hospital and Medical Center in West Reading, Pennsylvania, noted the distinction by age in a study presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) in Orlando, in October. The study included 1,084 women with a mean age of 54.8 years at the beginning; for 10 years, investigators collected data on heart disease and established risk factors in these women.

“We saw a significant difference in the association of depression with the risk of CAD based on a patient’s age,” said the lead study author, Xuezhi Jiang, MD, in an NAMS news release. “Compared with women aged 65 years and older, women under the age of 65 were far more likely to incur CAD as a result of depression.”

“This study highlights the need for healthcare providers to screen women for signs of depression, especially if they are younger . . . to be more proactive in helping them manage their risk for CAD,” said JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, NAMS executive director.

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Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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