Heart Disease and Depression linked

Jun 15, 2023 | Ketamine IV

John Hopkins Medicine Have Linked Higher Heart Disease Risks Among Young Adults To Those That Have Depression and Poor Mental Health

By Cory Fowler

Research from Johns Hopkins Medicine which studied over a half million young adults reveals a link between adverse mental health and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Depression and poor mental health symptoms were shown to be closely associated with greater heart health problems.


The results, published in the Journal of The American Heart Association, demonstrate that those who reported depression or less positive mental health days had larger risks for cardiovascular issues like strokes and heart attacks, along with other CVD risk factors.

Heart Disease linked to Depression

Dr. Garima Sharma, lead researcher of the project commented that when individuals experience feelings such as sadness and stress, then anxiety increases and this damages heart health due to activities such as smoking, reduced physical activity, or alcohol consumption, all of which have negative effects on one’s wellbeing.


Data was collected by way of the nationally-representative Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey from 2017-20 which asked questions focusing on depressive disorders, mental health in the past month (ranging from 0-30 days), history of developing stroke/heart attack or chest pain and any cardiovascular factors present within the patient. A person with 2+ risk factors was classed as having suboptimal CVD health.


One in five adults reported having depression or frequently feeling down, and according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of those experiencing depression or anxiety soared from 36.4% to 41.5% during the COVID-19 pandemic’s first year — with a particularly strong spike among individuals aged 18 to 29.


Data revealed that people who stated they had bad mental health days in the last month had an increased probability of suffering from CVD in comparison to respondents who hadn’t experienced any poor mental health days. Yaa Adoma Kwapong, a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for CVD Prevention and lead author of the study said: “The link between depression and heart problems goes both ways – one increases the risk of other issues both physical & psychological.” 


The most recent research only offers a fleeting glance at this subject matter in young folks struggling with depression; further exploration is essential to track how depression affects cardiovascular health over time.