Depression is a common and growing cause of disability, with more than 264 million people affected by depression worldwide. In a study of almost 600,000 participants, researchers from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom found that symptoms of depression (such as feeling sad, bored, tired, irritable for a long time, and changes in sleep and appetite) were linked to cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, strokes and surgery for cardiovascular disease. This link exists even after considering other common risk factors such as high blood pressure, excess weight, high cholesterol, and diabetes. However, we do not yet know if treating depression can reduce heart disease risk. The researchers also found that depressive symptoms (such as persistent low mood) were linked to many other causes of death, including cancer. These findings highlight the importance of watching for and monitoring symptoms of depression, including in people who would not usually come to the attention of mental health services.

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