Early physiological markers of cardiovascular risk in community based adolescents with a depressive disorder

Joanna M Waloszek, Michelle L Byrne, Michael J Woods, Christian L Nicholas, Bei Bei, Greg Murray, Monika Raniti, Nicholas Brian Allen, John A Trinder

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Background Depression is recognised as an independent cardiovascular risk factor in adults. Identifying this relationship early on in life is potentially important for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study investigated whether clinical depression is associated with multiple physiological markers of CVD risk in adolescents from the general community. Methods Participants aged 12-18 years were recruited from the general community and screened for depressive symptoms. Individuals with high and low depressive symptoms were administered a diagnostic interview. Fifty participants, 25 with a current depressive episode and 25 matched healthy controls, subsequently completed cardiovascular assessments. Variables assessed were automatic brachial and continuous beat-to-beat finger arterial blood pressure, heart rate, vascular functioning by pulse amplitude tonometry following reactive hyperaemia and pulse transit time (PTT) at rest. Blood samples were collected to measure cholesterol, glucose and glycohaemoglobin levels and an index of cumulative risk of traditional cardiovascular risk factors was calculated. Results Depressed adolescents had a significantly lower reactive hyperaemia index and shorter PTT, suggesting deterioration in vascular integrity and structure. Higher fasting glucose and triglyceride levels were also observed in the depressed group, who also had higher cumulative risk scores indicative of increased engagement in unhealthy behaviours and higher probability of advanced atherosclerotic lesions. Limitations The sample size and number of males who completed all cardiovascular measures was small. Conclusions Clinically depressed adolescents had poorer vascular functioning and increased CVD risk compared to controls, highlighting the need for early identification and intervention for the prevention of CVD in depressed youth
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-410
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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