Depression and diabetes linked to cardiac arrest risk
A study linking depression and the rising incidence of diabetes to heightened risks from heart attack and possible death, has been published by an international research team led by a Charles Sturt University (CSU) medical scientist.
Dr Herbert Jelinek from CSU’s School of Community Health has led a team of researchers from universities in Sydney, Melbourne and Abu Dhabi who found that depression in people seemed to change the way heart rate is controlled and therefore led to an increased risk of a heart attack or death.
"Importantly, anti-depression medication does not appear to lessen this risk," said Dr Jelinek, who is based in Albury-Wodonga.
"So people with depression need to discuss this with their general practitioner or cardiologist as well as their psychiatrist. Of even more concern is that diabetes seems to worsen the risk of cardiac arrest in people with depression."
These results arose from research studies carried out by the Albury-based Diabetes Complications Research Initiative, which is coordinated by Dr Jelinek and researchers from the University of Sydney. Many residents of Albury and Wodonga regularly participate in this research.
"These results have implications worldwide, particularly in countries with high rates of diabetes such as the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom," Dr Jelinek said.
"We also demonstrated that a simple electrocardiogram (ECG) test can show that a person with depression can run a higher risk of a heart attack. This test would make it easier to assess heart attack risk in regional and rural areas around Australia.
"The studies investigated the combined effects of two major health concerns, depression and diabetes, on the incidence of heart attack, which kills one Australian every 11 minutes.
"We are aiming to identify early changes in mental health associated with diabetes to enable better and faster intervention that addresses this very important health problem."
Dr Jelinek recently presented findings on the impact of depression and anxiety on heart rate at the National Heart Association of Australia conference in Melbourne and on a new method to analyse recordings from ECGs to identify changes in heart rate associated with depression at the Computers in Cardiology conference in China.