BACKGROUND: Cardio-vascular disease and depression are thought to be closely related, due to shared risk factors. The aim of the study was to determine the association between cardio-vascular risk (CVR) factors and depressive status in a population (55-75 years) with metabolic syndrome (MetS) from the PREDIMED-Plus trial.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: Participants were classified into three groups of CVR according to the Framingham-based REGICOR function: (1) low (LR), (2) medium (MR) or (3) high/very high (HR). The Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) was used to assess depressive symptoms at baseline and after 2 years. The association between CVR and depressive status at baseline (n = 6545), and their changes after 2 years (n = 4566) were evaluated through multivariable regression models (logistic and linear models). HR women showed higher odds of depressive status than LR [OR (95% CI) = 1.78 (1.26, 2.50)]. MR and HR participants with total cholesterol <160 mg/mL showed higher odds of depression than LR [OR (95% CI) = 1.77 (1.13, 2.77) and 2.83 (1.25, 6.42) respectively)] but those with total cholesterol ≥280 mg/mL showed lower odds of depression than LR [OR (95% CI) = 0.26 (0.07, 0.98) and 0.23 (0.05, 0.95), respectively]. All participants decreased their BDI-II score after 2 years, being the decrease smaller in MR and HR diabetic compared to LR [adjusted mean±SE = -0.52±0.20, -0.41±0.27 and -1.25±0.31 respectively). MR and HR participants with total cholesterol between 240-279 mg/mL showed greater decreases in the BDI-II score compared to LR (adjusted mean±SE = -0.83±0.37, -0.77±0.64 and 0.97±0.52 respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Improving cardiovascular health could prevent the onset of depression in the elderly. Diabetes and total cholesterol in individuals at high CVR, may play a specific role in the precise response. International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial (ISRCTN89898870).