Depression May Spark a Range of Physical Health Problems

Depression may promote excess inflammation, leading to a host of potential health problems, PsychCentral reported Jan. 6.

Clinical depression leads to elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker for inflammation also associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, a new study led by William Copeland, Ph.D., of the Duke University Medical Center finds. Elevated levels of CRP did not predict later depression, they say, but depression usually led to higher levels of CRP.

Researchers have long suspected a link between depression and inflammation, and these findings fall in line with another study which found that depression may increase your risk of heart attack.

“Depression is a recurring disorder for many people. Thus the finding that repeated episodes of depression contribute to inflammation in the body highlights a potentially important role for untreated depression as a contributor to a range of serious medical problems,” writes John Krystal, M.D., editor of the journal Biological Psychiatry, in a comment accompanying the study.

The study appears online in the journal Biological Psychiatry.