Why Men Suffer in Silence: Male Depression

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Depressed to Death

In fact, a growing body of research links depression to a host of illnesses including CAD, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke, as well as making people more susceptible to infection. Although experts maintain that only half as many men suffer from depression as women do, I am convinced that it is much more common in men than that. And the consequences of all this undiagnosed depression are huge. Depression itself can be lethal; men commit suicide four times more often than women. Perhaps the most significant connection is to coronary artery disease.

Being depressed can more than double a man's risk of developing CAD and can also make him more vulnerable to its deadly consequences. In fact, men diagnosed as suffering from major depression have three times the incidence of CAD, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. Interestingly, no research has proved that women with depression are at increased risk for heart disease.

Some explanations for this remarkably strong association: Depressed men smoke more, exercise less, and use more alcohol to alleviate emotional pain, all of which enhance their risk of heart disease. Patients who have both depression and heart disease have more cardiac rhythm disturbances than heart patients who aren't depressed. Depression also elevates the stress hormone cortisol, which impairs glucose metabolism, lowers levels of good HDL cholesterol, elevates triglycerides, and can eventually lead to diabetes, a disease that itself doubles the risk of CAD in men. And depressed people are also less likely to follow medical recommendations.

Continued on page 3:  Hidden in Plain Sight

 

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