Panic disorder appears to increase risk of coronary heart disease

September 22, 2005

Patients with panic disorder have nearly double the risk for coronary heart disease, and those also diagnosed with depression are at almost three times the risk, according to new research.

The study in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine focuses on the medical histories of nearly 40,000 people from the time they were first diagnosed as suffering from panic disorder.

Lead author Andres Gomez-Caminero, Ph.D., says the large cohort study "highlights, for the first time, the potential for additive effects of different psychiatric conditions on cardiovascular health....and it really sets the foundation for new research in the area of cardiovascular risk estimation among patients with mental illness."

The report focuses on medical histories from a database of 17 million patients jointly maintained by 30 managed care providers.

Panic disorder involves unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms including chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness or abdominal distress. Panic disorder patients are more likely to be female, overweight, smokers and have a history of depression.

About 2.4 million Americans annually experience panic episodes, and the manifestations often mimic symptoms of a heart attack. The disorder can be treated by medications and psychotherapy.

Coronary heart disease is an umbrella term for processes that reduce the arterial flow of blood to the heart. Nearly 14 million Americans have a history of coronary heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.

The authors of the study say the mechanism by which incidents of panic disorder might trigger coronary heart disease is not known. However, they note that certain stress responses to depression already have been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease, which reinforces the study's conclusion that the association between a panic disorder and coronary heart disease "suggests the need for cardiologists and internists to monitor panic disorder" in the interest of cutting the risk of coronary heart disease.

Jack Gorman, M.D., a professor pf psychiatry and neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, calls the study, "one more piece of evidence that mood and anxiety disorders ...significantly increase the risk for heart disease," adding that more work is needed "to understand the basic biological link between the brain and the heart that explains these phenomena."
-end-
GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals funded the study while Gomez-Caminero was working for the firm. Gomez-Caminero is now with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

INTERVIEWS
Contact Ruby Castilla-Puentes at Ruby.C.Castilla@gsk.com
Psychosomatic Medicine: Contact Victoria White at (352) 376-1611, ext. 5300, or psychosomatic@medicine.ufl.edu. Online, visit www.psychosomaticmedicine.org.

Gomez-Caminero A, et al. Does panic disorder increase the risk of coronary heart disease? A cohort study of a national managed care database. Psychosomatic Medicine 67(5), 2005.

Center for Advancing Health

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.