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Obesity links depression and high blood pressure

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, July 6 (Reuters) Research suggests there is a significant association, mediated through obesity, between symptoms of depression and high blood pressure.

Psychological factors are known to be related to high blood pressure and heart disease, lead researcher Dr. Azad Alamgir Kabir commented to Reuters Health. ''This study shows a probable pathway between depression and development of (high blood pressure). If we know the causal pathways, we can develop effective prevention techniques,'' the researcher added.

The researchers studied 1,017 individuals, between 12 and 62 years old, from 561 families participating in the Bogalusa Heart Study. Sixty percent were white and 52 percent were women. On average, the subjects were overweight, but not obese. Roughly one third were presumed to have depression and 13.4 percent had high blood pressure.

In the American Journal of Hypertension, Kabir from Louisiana State University Health Science Center in Shreveport and colleagues report that symptoms of depression were associated with high blood pressure indirectly through an association with increased body weight in both whites and African Americans.

''Since depressed individuals are more likely to be overweight, special care should be taken to address the symptoms of depression in the general population,'' Kabir said.

''Such a technique may also be helpful to develop an effective weight reduction program and subsequently (a high blood pressure) prevention program,'' the researcher added.


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