The long held belief that depression directly increases the risk of heart disease has been refuted. It appears that behavioral patterns associated with depression, such as lack of exercise, are the culprit.

  • A five year study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association documented the link between depression and an increased risk of heart disease was due largely to behavior patterns such as lack of exercise and poor dietary selections than any other direct correlation. A major challenge, the study concluded, is instituting proper patient intervention with techniques that make exercise achievable and consistent. Treadmill desks make exercise automatic and have been shown in many previous studies to decrease the risk of heart disease and the onset of mild depressions.

The study was led by Dr. Mary Whooley. She and her colleagues tracked and measured the symptoms of depression in 1,017 outpatients previously identified with stable coronary heart disease. Their data was then interpreted by a variety of models designed to differentiate between cardiovascular events, health levels, and depression, measured against behavioral and biological factors.

The study initially uncovered that there was a 50% greater risk of cardiovascular events among patients with depression. Filtering out other conditions such as the severity of cardiac disease decreased the correlation to a 31% greater risk. When the study factored out health behaviors such as physical inactivity they found that there no longer existed a significant correlation between depression and the cardiovascular occurrences. There was however an alarming 44% greater rate of cardiovascular events associated with the lack of physical inactivity.

The team further stated that their study does "raise the hypothesis that the increased risk of cardiovascular events associated with depression could potentially be preventable with behavior modifications, especially exercise." They further related that heart patients with depression participated less in proper exercise, diet and medication regimens due to their condition.

"The challenge facing most Americans is finding the time to get the necessary amount of exercise to remain healthy. This study further validates the importance of finding a mechanism that makes exercise consistent and automatic, stated Steve Bordley, founder of TrekDesk, a manufacturer of treadmill desks. "We are mortgaging our health with jobs that demand we stay shackled to a desk for eight to ten hours a day. Treadmill desks provide a solution that can restore health and will not require will power or extra time out of the day to achieve healthy results."