A new study reveals that younger women are more likely to suffer from depression after a heart attack than people over 60 of either sex.

Two-fifths of women under age 60 interviewed in the hospital by US researchers following a heart attack showed depressive symptoms. The authors of the study believe their findings may partially explain why younger women are more likely to die or have complications after a heart attack.

Doctors at Atlanta’s Emory University School of Medicine interviewed 1,684 men and 814 women across the US for the study, which has been published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

The individuals were given a total “depression score” between zero and 27 after being asked how often they experienced nine different symptoms of mental illness. They study results showed that 22% of all the individuals were depressed because they registered a score of 10 or above.

The study also discovered that the prevalence of depression was 40% in women 60 or younger, 21% in women above age 60, 22% in men under 60 and 15% in men over 60. Those who were depressed were in poorer health and more likely to have a history of diabetes and heart conditions, according to researchers.

The authors of the report believe that hormones and social pressures could be contributing to younger women’s increased risk of depression, and that the study results may explain why more young women die after a heart attack because depressed patients are generally more likely to experience further complications.

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