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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 1/2014

Revisiting the J shaped curve, exploring the association between cardiovascular risk factors and concurrent depressive symptoms in patients with cardiometabolic disease: Findings from a large cross-sectional study

BMC Cardiovascular Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2014
Bhautesh Dinesh Jani, Jonathan Cavanagh, Sarah JE Barry, Geoff Der, Naveed Sattar, Frances S Mair
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1471-2261-14-139) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declared that they have no competing interests.



Depression is common in patients with cardiometabolic diseases but little is known about the relationship, if any, between cardiovascular risk factor values and depressive symptoms in patients with these conditions. The objective of this paper is to study the association between cardiovascular risk factors and concurrent depressive symptoms in patients with three common cardiometabolic conditions: coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and diabetes.


We retrospectively reviewed primary care data for N = 35537 with 1 of the above 3 conditions who underwent depression screening using the depressive subscale of hospital anxiety and depression score (HADS-D). We reviewed 4 cardiometabolic risk factors (Systolic Blood Pressure [SBP], Diastolic Blood Pressure [DBP], BMI and total cholesterol) recorded concurrently in all patients and HbA1c in patients with diabetes (n = 18453). We analysed the association between individual risk factor value and a positive HADS-D screening result (>7) using logistic regression.


SBP and BMI were noted to have a non-linear “J-shaped” relationship with the probability of having a positive HADS-D and observed nadirs (levels with the lowest probability) of 148 mm Hg and 30.70 kg/m2, respectively. Total cholesterol and DBP found to have a weaker curvilinear association with concurrent depression symptoms and nadirs of 3.60 mmol/l and 74 mmHg. Among patients with Diabetes, HbA1c was also found to have a “J-shaped” relationship with probability of having a positive HADS-D with an observed nadir of 7.06% DCCT. The above relationships remain significant after adjusting for age, sex, socio-economic status and number of co-morbid conditions.


In patients with cardiometabolic disease, cardiovascular risk factor values at both extremes were associated with higher positive depression screening after adjusting for confounders. These findings have potentially important implications for clinical practice in relation to both risk stratification for depression and approaches to secondary prevention in individuals with cardiometabolic disease and merit further investigation to determine the nature and direction of the observed association.
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