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Depression Linked to Peripheral Artery Disease

Being Depressed May Set Stage for PAD, or Vice Versa

What Comes First?

Is depression the chicken or the egg? Vivienne Halpern, MD, is not sure. She is the chief of vascular surgery and a clinical associate professor of surgery at University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. "It has also been shown in prior studies that after PAD develops, there is an increasing risk of depression due to ... the feelings of endless problems and not feeling well that don't go away," she says in an email. "This is understandable as many of these diseases, including PAD, greatly alter what one is able to do and how one feels."

Treating the depression may help improve PAD. "It aids in having them participate in their care, helps them achieve better activity levels and avoid destructive habits," she says.

Regardless of which condition comes first, Alan Manevitz, MD, says that addressing the depression is important. He is a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

"Depression and heart disease are linked, and together they make for a more a difficult prognosis," he says.

Treating depression often has positive spillover benefits on other conditions.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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