Depression Linked to Artery Disease
Credit: Michael Gray | Dreamstime

Depression may be linked with an increased risk of peripheral artery disease, a condition where the arteries in the legs and pelvis narrow, according to a new study.

Researchers used data from 1,024 men and women taking part in the Heart and Soul Study, an ongoing study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco. 

At the study’s start, 12 percent of participants with depression had peripheral artery disease (PAD), whereas 7 percent of people without depression had PAD.

Over the seven-year study, 9 percent of people with depression developed signs of PAD, compared with 6 percent of those without depression.

The study showed only an association, not a cause-and-effect link between depression and PAD. While experts know that depression is a risk factor for constricted heart arteries, its effect on PAD is uncertain, the researchers said.

Still, these findings demonstrate the importance of depression screening and treatment for PAD patients, according to the researchers.

The findings were presented today (April 20) at an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago.