Elderly women who have six
or more symptoms of depression
are at an increased risk of an earlier death than women who have fewer
depression symptoms, a new study says.
In a study of 7,518 white women age 67 and older, researchers found a 24 percent mortality rate among women with six or more symptoms during seven years of follow-up study.
Women with three to five symptoms had a 17 percent mortality rate and women with no symptoms had a 7 percent rate, researchers report in the Oct. 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
The study also says depression was a significant risk factor for cardiovascular mortality, but not for cancer mortality.
Lead researcher Dr. Mary A. Whooley from the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center tells OnHealth that depressed patients are more likely to live alone, less likely to be married and are more likely to have problems involving alcohol, smoking and weight.
"Although the effect of treatment for depressive symptoms on mortality remains to be determined," researchers write, "these findings suggest that treatment for depression may not only enhance quality of life, but also reduce mortality among women with depressive symptoms."
OnHealth Reuters Depression raises death risk for older women.url