A new research study suggests depression increases the risk of a circulatory disorder that narrows arteries and reduces blood flow to the limbs.

The condition is known as peripheral artery disease (PAD) and is often characterized by leg pain when walking. PAD is defined as an increased arterial narrowing in the legs and pelvis.

Researchers have known that depression serves as a risk factor for coronary arteries, however, its effect on PAD was uncertain.

In the current study, researchers used data from 1,024 men and women in the Heart and Soul Study and followed them for about seven years. At the study’s start, 12 percent of participants with depression had PAD, compared to seven percent of patients without depression who had PAD.

Similarly, nine percent of depressed patients and six percent of those without depression had PAD-related events during the seven-year followup.

Experts say that these findings demonstrate the importance of depression screening and treatment for PAD patients.

Effective remedies for depression-mediated PAD include exercise, eating a healthy diet and quitting tobacco.

Source: American Heart Association